Belfast Telegraph

Police blame loyalists for violence

Police have blamed loyalist paramilitaries for violent disturbances that erupted In Co Antrim, involving up to 100 people.

One police officer was taken to hospital during the clashes in Larne and several members of the public were attacked.

A police commander said members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were responsible.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) assistant chief constable George Hamilton said the blame for the disorder, which was centred in the Sallagh Park area, lay "firmly with the South East Antrim UDA".

Police were first called to reports of public disorder around 8.40pm yesterday. A PSNI spokeswoman said officers arrived on the scene within three minutes and were immediately attacked.

Several houses and a police car were damaged in the violence.

East Antrim Assembly member Stewart Dickson condemned those responsible.

"I am appalled at this violence that has taken place in Larne," said the Alliance Party representative. "There is no place for this type of public disorder on our streets.

"I am deeply concerned by the reports from the PSNI that the South East Antrim UDA were responsible for this trouble. If this is correct, it raises serious questions about the status of this paramilitary group. The chief constable (Matt Baggott) must look into this matter.

"It is disgraceful that the police were attacked when they responded to this trouble. I hope that the injured officer will be able to make a speedy recovery.

"If anybody has any information about this incident then I would urge them to contact the police."

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