Police injured after night of violence in Belfast

Twenty-two police officers have been injured during rioting in Northern Ireland.

Baton rounds were fired and water cannon used in parts of west Belfast after petrol bombs, stones and bricks were launched at police lines.

Four wounded officers were taken to hospital, but none of their injuries were life-threatening, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

A bus was hijacked and driven at a police cordon, but crashed a short distance away, according to the force.

A fire service appliance was attacked by missile-throwing youths while attending a blaze in west Belfast and ambulance crews were also targeted.

The trouble happened on the night before today's Twelfth of July celebrations by Orangemen, during which tens of thousands of members of the loyal orders will walk the streets to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory of a Protestant over a Catholic monarch.

Riots broke out in the nationalist areas of Broadway, Old Park and North Queen Street in the west of the city late last night and continued through the early hours of this morning. More than 40 petrol bombs were thrown.

Police used water cannon and fired baton rounds to try to disperse crowds of between 100 and 200 people who began throwing stones and missiles at police lines in the Broadway area of the city. A total of 51 rounds were used.

A number of vehicles were reportedly hijacked, with a motorbike and at least one van set on fire, according to police.

Petrol was also thrown at officers in North Queen Street, where around 40 people gathered, the force said.

A bus was hijacked on the Falls Road and then driven at a police cordon separating loyalists and nationalists on the Donegall Road, but crashed before reaching officers.

Crews from Springfield fire station in west Belfast came under attack and a vehicle windscreen was smashed by stone-throwing youths. A firefighter was slightly hurt by young people throwing stones in Londonderry.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said it received 180 calls up to 1am, a 65% increase on last year. At the busiest time, the service was taking a call every 75 seconds, with most within the Greater Belfast area.

Deputy chief fire officer Chris Kerr said the NIFRS would continue to engage with community representatives to ensure public safety.

"Firefighters are already exposed to significant risk, in what can be a dangerous profession, without having to face such deliberate attacks from those who they are trying to serve," he said.

PSNI assistant chief constable Dave Jones praised colleagues for their professionalism in containing the violence.

"We would appeal for everyone to do everything that they can to help ensure all areas are peaceful over the next 48 hours. Violence does not need to be inevitable," he said.

Before the riots broke out, politicians and churchmen on both sides had appealed for a day free of violence, especially in the aftermath of serious disturbances in loyalist areas of east Antrim at the weekend.

Security chiefs have put extra resources on standby in potential flashpoint areas of Belfast and Craigavon, Co Armagh, while every available police officer will be on duty at today's 19 separate demonstrations.

New armour-plated police Land Rovers - part of a replacement consignment of 60 which has just arrived - will give officers additional protection in areas such as Ardoyne, north Belfast, where republicans opposed to the peace process have threatened protests.

There has been serious violence in this area before because of local opposition to Orange parades.

The largest parade will be in Belfast, where some city centre department stores are planning to open.

The Orange Order leadership insists the parades are a unique opportunity to showcase their history and heritage and they draw many overseas visitors.

An Orange Order feeder parade passed the Ardoyne shopfronts in North Belfast, where there has been trouble in previous years, without incident.

Nationalist residents held a silent protest.

Police in Portadown attended reports of public disorder offences in Craigwell Avenue and Obin Street in the early hours of this morning.

Houses were damaged as stones were thrown in the area and at police. One arrest was made for riotous behaviour and criminal damage. Police said two officers were injured during the disturbances.

At around 5.05am, several bottles were thrown at police in the area, with one person reported for disorderly behaviour.







Sinn Fein Assembly member Jennifer McCann said: "Last night's riot was caused by anti-social element coming together at one spot in West Belfast, attacking the police and destroying the local area.



"There was clearly no rationale for gathering last night at Broadway other than the purpose of having a riot.



"Those behind it are not welcome here and they are the very same people who are responsible for anti-social behaviour throughout the year within West Belfast.



"They have left this community in shock. Children were terrified in their homes, people were fearful that their cars might be hijacked, people were fearful that their homes might be attacked."



Nationalist SDLP Belfast City Council member Tim Attwood said the community had been left reeling.



"The Broadway area of West Belfast has been left on its head, having been encroached by violent youths who are intent on inciting fear in this community, causing harm to our emergency services and destroying property," he said.



"Those responsible are doing the people of West Belfast a grave disservice and their futile actions have left residents feeling utterly disgusted."



A loyal order parade today peacefully passed Short Strand in East Belfast where violence erupted last month.

Suggested Topics
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game