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Bonfire heightened tensions, says councillor after third night of disorder in north Belfast

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Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / INM

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / INM

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / INM

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2020 - 

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths.

PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles using police dogs. 

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2020 - General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles using police dogs. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths.  PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles.  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the North Queen Street area of the New Lodge as disturbances broke out between the PSNI and Nationalist youths. PSNI officers searched the area for petrol bombs and missiles. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Police at the scene of disorder in north Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Unrest in north Belfast

Unrest in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police in north Belfast

Police deal with disorder in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on July 12th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

A Belfast councillor said the building of a bonfire at a north Belfast peaceline heightened tensions, after a third night of disorder.

Police again came under attack in the New Lodge, North Queen Street area on Sunday evening.

A small fire was set in the middle of North Queen Street and police were attacked by stone throwers. It's reported the disturbance was not on the same level as previous nights which saw petrol bombs thrown.

There is also believed to have been an attack outside the nearby shopping centre. There were reports from the scene a father and teenage son were attacked by young people running from the New Lodge area.

Police said the man sustained a head wound requiring hospital treatment and appealed for information.

SDLP councillor and Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Paul McCusker condemned the incidents.

He said it was "not reflective of the good people of those that live in the New Lodge".

He called for parents' support to bring the disturbances to an end saying children as young as 12 were involved.

"We are also calling on the police to look at who is behind this, and help put a stop to it," he told the BBC.

He said there had been a rise in tensions with the building on a bonfire in nearby Adams Street. He said he had been working with agencies saying as well heightening tensions with a bonfire at an interface, it was also close to buildings and posed a risk.

The bonfire was built at the peaceline between Tigers Bay and the New Lodge.

The Orange Order's Grand Secretary Mervyn Gibson said people did not need an excuse and just wanted to attack police and the community.

"A bonfire or a band should not be an excuse for violence," he said.

Police said they dealt with "sporadic stone throwing, however, there was no significant disorder".

Police Federation chair Mark Lindsay said there had been "leap and bounds" over the years to bring disorder and attacks on police over the Twelfth down.

He said there appeared to be "almost a subculture where attacks on police were still the norm" at this time of year.

Over the weekend police pledged to bring those responsible before the courts.

On Saturday night, police cars were damaged in what were described as "extremely disappointing" attacks involving petrol bombs against police thrown by young people in the area.

First Minister Arlene Foster condemned attacks on police. Speaking on BBC NI's Sunday Politics, she urged those involved to "ask themselves what sort of a Northern Ireland do they want to live in?"

On Saturday, officers from the Tactical Support Unit were called and were attacked by young people, some of whom were masked.

Trouble also flared on Friday.

Superintendent Lorraine Dobson on Sunday appealed to young people involved in criminal and anti-social behaviour to stop.

"You need to realise the consequences of your actions, and the impact it has on the community," she said.

“I would also appeal to parents and guardians of young people to please ensure you know where your young people are, who they are with and what they are doing."

She asked those in the community to use their influence to ensure there is not a repeat of such behaviour.

"We will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible in a proportionate manner, and we will seek to gather evidence to bring those responsible before the courts, whether through evidence gathering or arrests at the time.

On Saturday, piece of furniture was set on fire in the middle of North Queen Street, while passing cars and houses were attacked with stones by young people near Duncairn Gardens.

North Queen Street was later closed to allow debris to be cleared.

Earlier in the week, police and fire crews were called to the scene of a bonfire on the Tiger's Bay side of Duncairn Gardens on Thursday as youths continued to stack pallets beside a peace line gate along the street.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents was asked to call police on 101, and quote reference number 1456 of 11/07/20. A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport. Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Belfast Telegraph