Belfast Telegraph

Ardoyne rooftop protest is no laughing matter

By Deborah McAleese

Brandishing a stick, a young boy, aged around nine, pulled a hoodie over his head to cover his face and began shouting expletives at police.

These officers were kitted out in full riot gear, with batons, shields and some armed with baton rounds, but that did not extinguish the boy’s bravado in front of them.

A group of young males took up position on the roof of commercial premises and began throwing petrol bombs, bricks and bottles down at police, oblivious to the fact that they were also striking members of their own community.

Police deemed their actions so serious that two officers fired at least two baton rounds in their direction.

As the officers took aim crowds of bystanders warned the males to watch out. When their missiles missed police the same bystanders yelled “nearly”.

And so it became a game to the young males on the roof who seemed to be relishing the attention from the ground.

When the water cannon was deployed they ducked, only to jump up seconds later jeering and laughing. If the situation had not been so dangerous it could almost have been comical.

Older residents said they were fed up with the violence, while younger ones loved the entertainment.

“Mum, can I stay out for another half hour, “ one asked his mother.

“Ok, just don’t get arrested,” she replied.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph