Belfast riot: Police footage of burning hijacked car

CCTV footage shows rioters pushing a burning car towards police lines

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Police have released video footage of rioters turning a hijacked car into a moving fireball to attack police during disturbances in Northern Ireland.

The rioters pushed the blazing car towards police lines in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on 12 July.

Dozens of people were forced to run out of the way as the burning car crashed into a garden.

Police said if the petrol tank in the car had exploded, there would have been multiple deaths.

After the car crashed, rioters tried to push it back towards the police even though the vehicle was still on fire.

Sixteen police officers were injured during the second consecutive night of rioting in the area.

The trouble broke out after police in riot gear took up position ahead of an Orange Order parade walking past shops in the Ardoyne area.

On the Twelfth of July, the Protestant Orange Order takes part in demonstrations across Northern Ireland, commemorating King William III's 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory over Catholic King James II.

Releasing the footage at a press conference on Tuesday, police appealed for more information about those involved in the violence.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Little said the public could show their opposition to the rioters by coming forward.

He said he was dealing with similar scenes of violence at several locations across Belfast over the Twelfth period including the Broadway, North Queen Street and Oldpark Road areas.

"We all need to work together to isolate these individuals and stop them from ruining the lives of those who live in any areas affected by violence like this," he said.

"There are members of the public who know who the people involved are.

Convictions

"Whilst we have had an excellent response so far, I want to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone else who can help my inquiry.

"By coming forward with information, members of the local communities can send out the message to these people that they do not want the sort of behaviour that was on display."

Mr Little is heading up a team of 14 officers dedicated to investigating the trouble.

He said an intensive investigation following last year's disorder over the Twelfth period had led to 40 convictions.

"This year, I again intend to have a professional, robust and extensive inquiry," he added.

"Having gone through dozens of hours of video coverage we already have evidence relating to numerous extremely serious offences such as hijacking, petrol bombing and sustained, determined rioting.

"We will be gathering, examining and acting upon all the available evidence to construct a professional investigation that will bring those involved before the court."

Mr Little also rejected claims by Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly that the police were "pro-active" in arresting people in nationalist areas following recent trouble but had taken a "hands-off approach" in loyalist areas.

He said there had been a comparable number of arrests after the disturbances in east Belfast last month to those which followed the disorder in Ardoyne.

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