Belfast Telegraph

‘No loyalist link’ to street violence

by Chris McCann

Street violence in north Belfast last weekend was not a result of a split in the UDA, it has been claimed.

The north Belfast representative of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), John Howcroft, blamed “criminal” elements in the area for the trouble and denied that loyalists were |involved.

Additional police officers may be drafted into the north of the city over the weekend following an incident. PSNI officers were called to the York Road area after receiving a report of a disturbance involving the man regarded as the UDA leader in the area and a friend of Andre Shoukri.

Loyalist sources in the area reported that words were exchanged between the two men outside the home of the mother of one of them before a brief physical confrontation took place.

It’s understood that John Bunting, who is linked with the ‘inner council’ faction of the UDA, later made a complaint to police that he was assaulted.

Mr Howcroft told the Community Telegraph that those involved “were not loyalists in any way, shape or form.”

“This is the latest incident in a catalogue of incidents, it is not an isolated attack. There have been attacks on members of the community over a period of months now, all of which have been reported to the police,” he added.

“The attacks are attacks on the good work being done in this area.

“The UPRG would call on people to remain calm an allow the police to administer their statutory responsibility.”

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