Belfast Telegraph

Police come under attack from rioters for a third consecutive night in Belfast

Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Police have hit out at "reckless, dangerous and unacceptable criminal behaviour" after three consecutive nights of disorder in north Belfast.

Petrol bombs were thrown at officers in the latest trouble, which flared in North Queen Street on Wednesday night.

Officers were also targeted with stones and other missiles.

Police believe those taking part in the violence are aged from their teens to their early 20s, with a smaller, older group orchestrating the trouble.

However, speaking at Musgrave Police Station yesterday, Superintendent Melanie Jones said she does not believe it to be the work of a dissident republican group.

"I think it's a group of people who have now become engaged in trying to bring the police into confrontation with them for whatever their reason may be, but I wouldn't like to guess what that reason is," she said.

Commenting on the bonfire in the Queen's Parade area that is due to be lit on August 9, to mark the introduction of internment in 1971, superintendent Jones confirmed the PSNI had not received any requests from landowners to assist them in the removal of the pyre.

In an effort to deal with the violence in the area, the PSNI deployed a combination of local neighbourhood officers, specialist officers and evidence gathering teams last night.

"I have also dedicated resources to the investigation and we are following dedicated lines of enquiry," superintendent Jones added.

"Those involved in Wednesday's incident and the previous night's should expect further investigation and, where the evidence exists, we will be arresting people and bringing them to justice.

Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police ARV officers deal with disorder in north Queen Street on August 1st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

"It's absolutely critical that I appeal once again to the parents of young people to know where your children are, know who they are with and know what they are doing.

"It's simply not acceptable that communities are being subjected to this. It's intolerable, it's inexcusable and it's dangerous."

Superintendent Jones added that the reason behind the violence could be down to an "element of excitement" for those young people involved.

"I would also say for a lot of those people, they are concerned about being identified by the police which is why we are determined to deploy evidence gathering teams and identify people," she added.

"The consequences for young people involved in this are quite serious for them in the long-term. At this time of year we do find teenagers who would become bored or, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, be in larger groups and cause anti-social behaviour in areas, which we deal with on a routine basis."

Despite the significant increase in officers dedicated to the North Queen Street area, the PSNI has reassured the public that they will still respond to their calls.

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