Friday 18 January 2019

New clashes break out in Belfast

Police faced fresh attacks last night after trouble ignited in Northern Ireland.

Bricks and bottles were thrown between nationalists and unionists in east Belfast as a heavy security presence tried to quell serious unrest.

Several hundred people have gathered near interfaces close to the Newtownards Road.

On Monday night two people were shot in the legs during the most serious rioting for years following an Ulster Volunteer Force raid on Catholic Short Strand.

A police spokeswoman advised motorists to avoid the area and said crowds had gathered.

Officers are talking to community representatives to try to calm tensions.

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Michael Copeland said missiles had been hurled between the opposing sides.

Masked youths were pelting each other with stones and fireworks and missiles were being fired at police lines.

Police brought water cannon in.

Police said around 700 people had gathered in the area and were using petrol bombs, fireworks and other missiles. Officers discharged several baton rounds (Attenuated Energy Projectiles).

A spokeswoman said there were reports that two people had sustained burn injuries.

Roads in the area have been closed.

The spokeswoman said: "Police are dealing with serious disorder in the Lower Newtownards Road area of East Belfast tonight."

© Press Association

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