RUC officers hurt in Loyalist violence

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The Independent Online
LOYALIST paramilitaries staged a second concerted wave of violence against the Royal Ulster Constabulary early yesterday, attacking police patrols in Belfast and elsewhere, writes David McKittrick.

Hand grenades, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown and in several incidents shots were fired. Four police officers were slightly hurt, one of them hit in the neck by a shotgun blast in north Belfast. Sixteen arrests were made and at least two men were injured when police fired plastic bullets.

Similar disturbances had taken place on Friday evening and Saturday as loyalists went on the rampage following the funeral of an Ulster Volunteer Force member who killed himself with his own grenade.

Police sources yesterday appeared taken aback by the scale of the disturbances, which spread from Belfast to towns in Co Down and Co Armagh. More than 20 vehicles were hijacked and burned or used as barricades.

The first disturbances were the work of the Ulster Defence Association but other groups were also involved. A Unionist MP condemned the loyalists as 'birds fouling their own nests'.

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