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Hijacked cars set on fire and police attacked in Newtownabbey rioting

A number of hijacked cars have been set on fire during a riot in Newtownabbey on Saturday evening.

Masked men threw petrol bombs and other missiles at PSNI Land Rovers during the disorder near the Cloughfern roundabout on O’Neill’s Road.

The roundabout was also on fire for a period.

A police spokesperson said: "We would appeal for calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in communities please, use that influence to ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm tonight."

It follows Friday's night of violence in which 27 police officers were injured in Belfast and Londonderry.

Seven people have been charged with riot after disturbances in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast on Friday, police said.

Three men aged 25, 21 and 18 years old, a 19-year-old woman and three youths aged 17, 14 and 13 have been charged and are expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court and Belfast Youth Court towards the end of April.

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As is normal procedure all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

A 19 year old man also arrested following the disorder on Friday night has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland has called for an end to the violence.

A spokesperson said people destroying their own communities is "not the way to protest or vent".

The representative body for police officers tweeted: "What is the point in this?

"Destroying your own communities is not the way to protest or vent. Why is it always our @PoliceServiceNI colleagues who face the brunt of this pointless violence?"

Alliance MLA John Blair said the violence should be "utterly condemned".

He said there was a "need for calm and for parents to check where their children are".

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said the the disturbances in loyalist areas were "an out-working of the DUP's rhetoric and undermining of the PSNI and criminal justice system".

"By their words and actions they have sent a very dangerous message to young people in loyalist areas," he said.

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