Police in N. Ireland comes under attack by protesters

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LONDON

The unrest continued in Belfast on Easter Sunday, with protesters throwing petrol bombs on officers and setting fire to three police vehicles, Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

“Last night again saw people taking to the streets of Northern Ireland to riot. From approximately 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm, a crowd of approximately 20-30 people, consisting of young people and older men, some of whom were wearing masks, gathered in the O’Neill Road/Cloughfern area of Newtownabbey,” North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said.

“In total, 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police, and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire,” Beck said.

“One man, aged 47, was arrested and he currently remains in police custody,” he added.

Describing the attack on the police as “orchestrated,” Beck also said: “We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with a global pandemic, no-one needs the added pressure of disorder in their community. Everyone deserves to live in peace, free from violence.”

In Londonderry, police have been subjected to sustained attacks across several nights in the last week in loyalist areas of the Waterside part of the city.

At least 27 police officers were injured on Friday night across Belfast and Derry.

Tensions have increased within the pro-UK unionist community over the so-called border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in post-Brexit arrangements.

The tension has run higher after a crowded funeral last week, which was attended by 24 Sinn Fein politicians, as all the main unionist parties demanded the resignation of police chief Simon Byrne for allowing such a gathering under Covid-19 restrictions.

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