Belfast Telegraph

Video: Police injured and arrests made amid serious loyalist rioting in Belfast city centre

Missiles and smoke bombs thrown at police at Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre ahead of republican rally

By John Mulgrew

Loyalists have attacked police with missiles, smoke bombs and fireworks during a stand-off against a republican rally in Belfast City Centre - injuring several people and police officers.

At least three police officers have been injured and at least two men have been arrested following an ongoing stand-off between officers the loyalist mob.

Water cannon and AEP rounds have also been used against the crowd.

Bricks, marbles, smoke bombs and stones have already been thrown at police and reporters gathered.

There were also reports of at least one city centre bar being damaged during the violence.

A car was also set on fire during the disturbances.

Republican marchers due to pass through the city centre's arterial route have been stopped by police only a couple of hundred metres away as violence continues.

A massive police presence at Royal Avenue stood only metres away from hundreds of loyalists this evening - the crowd blocking a planned dissident republican parade route through the heart of the city.

But shortly after 6pm, missiles began flying at the junction of North Street and Royal Avenue.

A large republican rally due to pass through the city centre has been held a short distance away as rioting continues.

The rally - marking 42 years since the introduction of internment in 1973 - set off from Ardoyne in north Belfast earlier this evening.

It was then planned to pass through the city centre before making its way to the Falls Road and Andersonstown in the west.

A tense atmosphere continued during waves of violence loyalist violence.

As bricks and masonry flew through the air, tourists and onlookers gathered close to the scenes of trouble - many of them photographing the violence.

A police spokesman confirmed that officers have so far been injured amid trouble between police and loyalist protesters.

"Police can confirm that two police officers have been injured during disturbances at the junction of Royal Avenue and North Street, Belfast.

"Both officers have been taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries."

They also warned of trouble in the Carrick Hill, Peters Hill and Millfield areas.

"Members of the public are advised to avoid the Carrick Hill, Peters Hill and Millfield areas of Belfast as Police continue to deal with serious public disorder in the area," a spokesman said.


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