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Thirty petrol bombs thrown at police during Newtownabbey riot

A 47-year-old man was also arrested and remains in custody

A 47-year-old man was arrested as 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police officers 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.

Three vehicles were also hijacked and set on fire.

It followed the disorder which took place on Friday in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast and Londonderry.

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The male who was arrested remains in police custody.

North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck, explained the riot lasted for around three hours from 7.30pm and involved a crowd of approximately 20 to 30 people consisting of young people and older men.

“Throughout the evening local councillors worked very closely with police in an effort to diffuse the situation,” said Mr Beck.

“This was an orchestrated attack on police who were carrying out their duties to help protect the people of Newtownabbey.

“My officers put on their uniform every day and go out into the community they serve, not knowing what lies ahead of them.

“However this does not deter them from turning up every day to do their duty. No-one, no matter what line of work they are in, deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence.

“The officers who serve the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families who wait every day on their loved ones coming home, hoping they have not been injured, or worse.”

Chief Superintendent Beck added that no one needs the added pressure of disorder in their community, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

“Everyone deserves to live in peace, free from violence,” he said.

“I would appeal to those who are taking to the streets to stop immediately, their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they claim they are representing.

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve better. No-one wants to be dragged back to the dark days when rioting was a common occurrence on the streets of Northern Ireland

“We will continue to work with our partner agencies, community and elected representatives and the people of Newtownabbey to ensure we can all live in a peaceful society.”

Anyone with any information about Saturday’s rioting has been asked to call police on the non-emergency number 101.

Reports can be submitted online via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport

Crimestoppers can also be contacted on 0800 555 111.

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