Blog: Police attacked in Belfast as loyalist tensions flare over Brexit – The Irish Times

Police have come under attack in disturbances in a loyalist area of Belfast.

Officers were targeted in Sandy Row by a crowd of mostly young people throwing bottles and bricks.

The incident started in the Shaftesbury Square area before moving into nearby Sandy Row.

The incident in Belfast came after four nights of successive disorder in the unionist Waterside of Derry.

The disorder has flared amid ongoing tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.

Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements, which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Tensions ramped up further this week following a controversial decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police are currently in attendance at an ongoing incident, involving a gathering of people, in the Sandy Row/Donegall Pass area of Belfast.”

In response to the incident, Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie tweeted: “Stop please……. this is not going to help anyone or change anything. It damages and endangers your own community, it undermines any grievance you might have and it will achieve nothing.”

In Derry on Thursday night, petrol bombs and masonry were thrown at officers during disturbances in the predominantly unionist Rossdowney Road/Lincoln Court area of the Waterside.

Earlier in the week, similar scenes were witnessed in the unionist Tullyvalley area in the Waterside.

Shortly after 9pm on Thursday, youths with petrol bombs and masonry gathered in the Rossdowney Road/Lincoln Court area and placed pallets on the road before setting them alight.

A digger parked nearby was also set alight.

The PSNI said its officers came under sustained attack when they responded.

Firefighters who attended the scene were also attacked.

PSNI Derry City and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones, said: “It is extremely disappointing that for four consecutive nights we have witnessed scenes of anti-social and criminal behaviour in the Waterside.

“These reckless attacks are not wanted by anyone and do nothing but cause harm and damage to the local community who we know just want to live in peace.

“I will again stress young people engaging in this type of criminal behaviour are risking not only their own safety, but they also face the possibility of a criminal conviction which can have life-changing consequences.

“We are appreciative of the efforts of those in helping to de-escalate the disorder this week.

“Our investigation continues, and I am appealing to parents and guardians, and all those who have influence, to help bring an end to the wanton destruction that we have seen in the Waterside this week.

“There is absolutely no justification for it and it has to stop.” – PA

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