Police vehicle under attack
An explosive device was thrown at a Belfast Police vehicle during riots in the nationalist Short Strand Area in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after violence flared in the city on Monday night.
Police were called to reports of a stolen vehicle when they came under attack. Nobody was hurt in the incident, and the area was promptly closed off and bomb experts called to the scene.
According to Belfast mayor, Niall Ó Donnghaile, a councillor based in Short Strand said that a handful of Catholic residents were injured in the violence, with one man hit by a brick and knocked unconscious.
“Orchestrated” attack from loyalist group
“There is no doubt that this was unprovoked and was a carefully orchestrated and planned attack on the area. Homes have been attacked with petrol bombs and paint bombs, bricks, golf balls. I saw what happened”, said Ó Donnghaile.
Chief Superintendant Alan McCrum backed Ó Donnghaile, saying that the violence was clearly “orchestrated” by the loyalist parliamentary group, the UVF.
A representative of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin said that the rioters came prepared for launching coordinated attacks; wearing surgical gloves, camouflage clothing and masks. Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland said that he believed that the attacks came following attacks previously launched on Protestant homes.
Alex Maskey from Sinn Féin said that “The PSNI told me that they had injured people with plastic bullets on the loyalist side, people who were clearly the aggressors.”
He continued to say: “I am making a very serious statement and as far as people in the Short Strand are concerned, the UVF launched an attack on the Catholic community in this area. I think it’s absolutely disgraceful”.
Prior to the attack on the police vehicle, clashes in east Belfast had occurred with homes damaged and petrol bombs thrown.