Pensioners tell of terror as loyalist teens go on rampage in Belfast
Elderly residents are being held prisoner in their own homes by teenage loyalist rioters in north Belfast.
A woman in her 80s was among several residents in a retirement home left terrified after bottles and golf balls were hurled at the premises during a third night of violence in the area.
And a man in his 70s has told how he was threatened by masked teens throwing petrol bombs at police outside his home when he bravely confronted them.
Up to 30 petrol bombs, bottles and golf balls were thrown at officers directly outside Mount Eden Court, a sheltered housing development for older people, on the Woodvale Road on Wednesday night.
Missiles were also hurled at the premises instead of police because the thugs' aim was so bad, according to the PSNI.
Traffic lights were destroyed, footpaths were broken up outside family homes and burning rubbish was used in a bid to block the road by crowds of youths as tensions continue to simmer.
Yesterday the doors and windows of several houses remained boarded up, with residents anticipating several more nights of violence.
"We are prisoners in our own homes. It is an absolute disgrace. This should not be happening," said one 74-year-old resident whose home is situated in the middle of a riot zone at Twaddell Avenue.
"Monday night was really bad. I confronted a group of them and was told to keep my mouth shut or they'd shut it for me. It's terrifying for us residents," he added.
The pensioner, who was too afraid to be identified, said he was sickened by the outbreaks of violence.
"It's a disgrace what they are doing to those poor police officers. The inspector who lost his ear is one of the nicest men you could meet. He is well respected in this area and look what they did to him," he said.
The man added: "God help those young people who are out there doing this. I went over and told them they were going to end up in jail. I told them they were ruining their lives. But they won't listen. They are full of so much anger."
A resident at Mount Eden Court retirement home said it can be frightening when rioting breaks out right outside their front door.
"Those behind this are 14, 15, 16-year-old boys. It's the people living at the front of the building I'd be most concerned about as they're facing out onto it," she said. However, the woman added: "But, to be honest, I'm not as concerned about it as I was two years ago when there was a lot of trouble."
The PSNI said officers spent more than an hour cleaning parts of the Woodvale area after the riot.
"Loyalist young people decided to have a riot, throw stones, bottles and petrol bombs at ourselves, which had absolutely no effect," the PSNI aid. "They also managed to wreck their own community by destroying traffic lights, piling burning rubbish in the middle of roads, breaking up footpaths outside family homes and also trashing the entrance of a local older people's home."
Police said footage of the attacks had been gathered and an extensive investigation will follow.