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Boy aged 12 is arrested as violence flares after town march

A boy aged 12 was arrested during an eruption of violence in Co Antrim which was believed to have involved up to 150 people and resulted in a policewoman being punched.

The boy was one of seven people arrested on Easter Monday after an Apprentice Boys of Derry parade in Carrickfergus.

Thousands of people had gathered to watch the parade involving around 40 bands and clubs earlier that day.

The event had ended by around 2.30pm without incident, however violence broke out later that afternoon.

East Antrim MLA David Hilditch, who participated in the parade, has blamed young people “fuelled with drink” for the incident.

The trouble escalated after a 17-year-old boy was knocked down by a car on the Marine Highway, close to Carrickfergus Castle, at around 3pm.

His injuries were described as serious, but his condition is understood to have improved.

As police were dealing with the incident public disorder broke out in the Castle Green area.

This is understood to have involved up to 150 people, mainly in their late teens and early 20s.

The trouble also spread to the North Street and Victoria Street areas of the town.

Police intervened and, between 4pm and 8pm, made seven arrests for public order offences.

One female officer was punched during the trouble, for which an arrest was made.

A man was also badly assaulted outside licensed premises on North Street.

The 12-year-old was arrested for disorderly behaviour at Albert Road and later released to his mother pending a report to the youth diversion officer.

An 18-year-old man has also been charged with assaulting police and disorderly behaviour.

He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on May 3.

And a 17-year-old boy has been charged with disorderly behaviour and is due to appear at Belfast Youth Court on May 4.

Other arrests were made in the harbour car park area for disorderly behaviour.

Mr Hilditch, who is a member of the Apprentice Boys, said the disorder had “nothing” to do with the parade.

“These people came into Carrick and were not involved in the parade,” he said

“It had been a great family day up until that happened, and then these people just began causing havoc.”

The DUP MLA added: “Alcohol seemed to be a major problem and fuelled a lot of the violence.

“It was terrible to see a day that had started so well ending like that.”

Belfast Telegraph