Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

In Pictures: Shots fired at police in third night of violence in Belfast

Rioters shine a green laser light to try to blind police officers during disturbances in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast

Belfast faced a third night of violence as shots were fired at police and rival groups clashed across the city.

There was trouble in the Markets and Short Strand areas of east Belfast, where a bus was damaged and a car was recovered by police from Stewart Street after youths attempted to push it into the road.

In south Belfast, young people set wheelie bins alight on the Ormeau Bridge, although the scene was soon cleared.

In the north of the city there were skirmishes on North Queen Street, but once again, the worst of the trouble was seen in Ardoyne.

From 7pm, opposing groups of over one hundred strong gathered at the edges of the loyalist Twaddell Avenue and the nationalist Brompton Park area along the Ardoyne shop fronts.

Armoured police vehicles at the Crumlin Road roundabout were attacked with bricks, bottles, paint, metal bars, tins of paint and petrol bombs.

Golf balls were thrown from Twaddell Avenue and duly returned.

A makeshift barrier including a chest of drawers and a car trailer, which had been used to block the carriageway on Monday night, were put across the road as a PSNI helicopter hovered overhead.

Officers removed the trailer but it was dragged back. A police Land Rover then pushed it back down the Crumlin Road.

Another armoured 4x4 rammed the chest of drawers into the pavement, where it disintegrated and narrowly missed a group of young girls, prompting a bystanding woman to shout: “Reckless b******s! They’re going to knock somebody down.”

After a number of attempts to push the rioters back, police lines regrouped just before 9pm further up Ardoyne Road at the Everton Complex, close to the loyalist Glenbryn area.

Officers in riot gear were again pelted with missiles as local community representatives and Holy Cross parish priest Fr Gary Donegan tried to intervene and remove people from the road.

Shortly before 10pm water cannons were deployed to the area. A car was later burned out near Brompton Park.

Youths — some as young as seven or eight with their faces covered with balaclavas, scarves, bandanas and hoods — passed around empty beer bottles and removed bricks from a dismantled garden wall to use as missiles to attack police.

Hooded rioters congratulated Press cameramen and photographers for capturing the moments when a female police officer was knocked to the ground by a concrete block dropped from the top of the Ardoyne shops on Monday night.

Others, recording the scenes on their mobile phones, said they were going to put the footage on YouTube.

One local man said: “The weans aren’t afraid, they don’t care.

“The police sitting there all night and revving their engines just antagonises them.

“The young ones don’t know how seriously people can get hurt.”

As cars crunched gingerly over broken glass, splintered wood and twisted metal, he added: “It’s madness. All this for a 10-minute walk.

“It tells you a lot that half of the cars in the Ardoyne are all-terrain.”

A PSNI spokeswoman last night said that community representatives were on the ground across Belfast to help deal with the violence and appealed to parents to know where their children are at all times.

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