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Hijacked car set on fire as police pelted with missiles in more Northern Ireland trouble

Rioting and unrest erupted for an eighth night running in Northern Ireland – despite pleas from some for calm after the death of Prince Philip.

Police were attacked with missiles and a hijacked car was set on fire as small pockets of unrest flared again.

PSNI officers have attended the scene at Tiger Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast with riot vans and police dogs in tow.

Some officers have come under attack, with missiles such as stones and bottles thrown at them, and reports of petrol bombs being used.

There is a heavy police presence in the area, with reports that stones were also thrown at police in the nearby, nationalist area New Lodge.

Police officers protect themselves with their shields during a protest in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area of Belfast
Police officers protect themselves with their shields during a protest in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area of Belfast

One eyewitness said: “The worst thing I saw was a car that was stolen from a nearby street and lit on fire.

“Then someone drove it and jumped out allowing the car to free wheel into the police barricade.

“Compared to previous nights, I wouldn’t say it was any more violent than the past few nights.

“There was plans for protests across the city but they were called off due to Prince Philip’s death.

“However it seemed a crowd gathered at Tiger Bay and then trouble ensued. Youths were seen to been thrown masonry and petrol bombs.”

A police officer walks during a protest in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area of Belfast
A police officer walks during a protest in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area of Belfast

Police dogs in Tigers Bay
Police dogs in Tigers Bay

PSNI Chief Superintendent Muir Clarke said: “We would appeal for calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in communities, please use that influence to ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm tonight.”

There were sporadic incidents of unrest in Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with reports of a road blocked off with a barricade which was then set alight in Coleraine, Londonderry.

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to participate in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Rioting in Tigers Bay, Belfast
A burning hijacked car was involved in the carnage

Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: “We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family.

“The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning.”

Earlier, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill voiced her concern that the violence of recent days will continue throughout the weekend.

The Sinn Fein vice president said: “I’m worried about the weekend ahead. We all need to be very careful and very consciously try to do all we can to prevent this happening.

“I hope and I urge all young people to not engage, do not allow yourself to be used or manipulated in any sort of way, and to stay off the streets, stay home and stay safe.”

She added: “I think there’s a strong role here for the two governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I made that point to (Secretary of State) Brandon Lewis this morning.

Prince Philip sadly died on Friday
Prince Philip sadly died on Friday prompting calls to halt the protests

“It’s really, really important that we stand shoulder to shoulder and say no to this type of criminal behaviour, and that we don’t allow our children to be sucked in by criminal gangs who are orchestrating some of what we see on our streets.”

Prince Philip’s death aged 99 on Friday morning will see flags flown at half-mast until the day after his funeral – expected to be April 17.

Campaigning for the May local elections has also been suspended until then.



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