Belfast Telegraph

Mean streets

Stop this madness now

By Stephen Gordon

IT was a ferocious night of rioting across north Belfast - and it erupted after a Cup final between bitter Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers.

Shameful: Soccer thugs target Army personnel as post-match violence escalates in north Belfast last week

IT was a ferocious night of rioting across north Belfast - and it erupted after a Cup final between bitter Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers.

Sunday Life today reveals PSNI radio transcripts, which show how last weekend's sectarian clashes began with small crowds spilling onto the streets, in the flashpoint Ardoyne area.

They reveal police calling desperately for reinforcements, as the trouble escalated rapidly into sustained rioting, involving rival mobs.

Police were confronted by gunmen, petrol bombers, stone-throwers, and thugs wielding makeshift weapons such as a hatchet, a meat cleaver, a golf club and a pick axe.

These are edited transmissions, made by different PSNI units deployed in the area. They begin minutes after the end of 'Old Firm' derby game.

16.58: Crowd coming out from Brompton Park roundabout.

17.01: About 30 children on the 'green' side and approx 12 now on the 'orange' side. There is no stoning at present.

17.06 A group of approx 20/30 heading from Alliance Road towards the shopfronts.

17.06: Approx 60 heading from Brompton Park area, towards the shopfronts.

17.15: Both factions have come together at the roundabout - need more assistance.

17.19: Considerable crowds out on both sides - request permission to deploy baton guns.

17.20: Crowd are trying to pull police out of the vehicles here.

17.22: Situation getting worse -- crowds on Twaddell Ave/Woodvale/ Alliance and the shopfronts.

17.25: Large crowd of youths here with bottles - will need permission to fire baton guns here soon.

17.26: Need permission to fire - situation getting serious. Reply: Permission granted.

17.26: One PBR (plastic bullet round) fired - one hit - beige top and beige trousers.

17.29: Need more resources here - orange coming into green.

17.30: We are hand to hand here - need immediate assistance.

17.35: Public Order Company has arrived but it will not be enough.

17.41: One PBR fired at male with hatchet wearing a Rangers top and blue track bottoms.

17.42: Male has now taken hatchet to the vehicle.

17.44: Crowd are trying to overturn our vehicle over here.

17.50: Three baton rounds fired. Two hits.

17.50: 13 baton rounds fired.

17.50: Green side moving back into Brompton.

17.54: Approx 50 youths in Brompton Pk pushing bins into ground.

18.10: No rural assistance available. All tied up with trouble in Larne and parades south.

18.17: Three members injured - are enroute to hospital..

18.23: Five petrol bombs thrown - one hit on police vehicle.

18.26: Fireworks being fired at police.

18.29: Five petrol bombs thrown.

18.31: Further petrol bombs being thrown. One struck military LandRover.

18.38: One member of our crew has been injured - need ambulance...

18.48: Call from a female - stated Catholics are coming up to Crumlin Road/Hesketh, coming to shop fronts.

18.49: Nine petrol bombs thrown. A large number of people now heading towards Hesketh. It looks like the loyalists are coming out to meet them.

18.55: Approx 300 people here at Hesketh rioting.

18.55: Call reporting petrol bombs being thrown in Hesketh Park.

18.58: Hesketh Park - report of person in area with guns.

19.04: Call from Crumlin Road, report a male in the area, tall wearing white top... he has a meat cleaver.

19.08: One shot fired from the orange side (at police) at Hesketh Park.

19.10: We can confirm one strike to this vehicle.

19.12: Gunman in sight at Hesketh Park.

19.14: Report that male fired shot down Ardoyne Road from beside an ambulance... gunman wearing black balaclava, and has a Rangers scarf around his neck.

19.17: We moved on the gunman but he made his way through crowd and alleyways.

19.19: One PBR fired at green side Ardoyne Rd. Identified rioter hit in groin area.

19.21: Information that following shooting at Mount Bar, loyalist paramilitaries intend to retaliate.

19.23: Information that petrol bombs are being made and distributed in an alleyway between Duneden and Ladbrook.

19.33: Gunman spotted at alleyway at shopfonts. He pointed handgun at police vehicle but did not fire.

19.38: PBR fired at Hesketh Pk/Ardoyne Rd at male holding a stick. Fired to maintain safe distance between opposing crowds.

19.49: Report Jim ------ (prominent loyalist) agitating crowd to attack police. He was also seen rioting earlier. Billy Hutchinson also seen in Ardoyne Rd area, but not making any obvious attempt to help the situation.

20.08: Petrol bomb thrown from roof of fruit shop... crowd seem to be moving towards ambulance depot.

20.27: Two petrol bombs thrown from 'green' side at shopfronts. No hits or injuries.

20.53: Report stoning has started again from both sides at shopfront/Twaddell Ave.

21.05: Youth on Orange side received injury while attempting to throw firework.

21.12: Loyalist starting to attack this C/S.

21.21: We are going to do a rapid advance up the Ardoyne Rd, to try to disperse this crowd. Do not think there is need for PBRs at this stage.

22.48: Two males came past police lines, one with a golf club, and one with a pick shaft and taunted nationalists.

Man hit constable on left hand side of neck with golf club. He was struck with baton during arrest and again while trying to kick constable on right knee.

Belfast Telegraph


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