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After Twelfth marches, violence erupts throughout Northern Ireland

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Violence broke out across many parts of Northern Ireland as tensions simmered following Twelfth of July parades.

In Belfast a bus was hijacked by masked men who claimed to have planted a bomb on board.

Two hijackers boarded the bus at Glencolin Walk shortly before 4.30pm and said a device had been left on the upper deck.

They ordered the driver to take the vehicle to Woodbourne PSNI station in the west of the city and made off towards the nationalist Lenadoon estate.

A number of roads near the station had to be sealed off as Army bomb experts examined the vehicle, however the alert was declared an elaborate hoax and all roads were re-opened several hours later.

In north Belfast two vehicles were hijacked on the Oldpark Road. One of the cars was found on Alliance Avenue shortly before 5.30pm and diversions had to be put in place between Berwick Road and Etna Drive while police examined it.

Police were also attacked with paint bombs, missiles and at least five petrol bombs as a feeder parade passed the Ormeau Bridge area of south Belfast. Two men and a woman have been reported to the Public Prosecution Service in connection with disorderly behaviour and assault after trouble flared at Botanic rail halt.

Meanwhile, in Lurgan a crowd of youths attempted to hijack and torch the cross border Enterprise train at a level crossing on Lake Street. All 55 passengers on board the train escaped unhurt after the driver was able to re-start the vehicle.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI confirmed there were no reports of any injuries or damage.

Also in Lurgan, a crowd of up to 50 youths hurled at least seven petrol bombs and a number of stones at police in the Kilwilkie estate, a white van was hijacked at Lake Street and a number of petrol bombs were thrown on the Antrim Road.

Sinn Fein MLA for the town, John O’Dowd, described the violence as “pointless”.

“Again we have a small group of individuals who come into the area to wreck it and use it as a playground,” he added.

Police were also called to deal with a hostile crowd at Killyleagh Road, Armagh, where at least one vehicle was burnt out by a large crowd.

In Londonderry, one petrol bomb was thrown at a house in the Irish Street area of the city.

Yesterday’s trouble followed a night of rioting in north and west Belfast during which 27 police officers were wounded.

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