Loyalist view of east Belfast flashpoint violence

image captionEast Belfast is a loyalist area and some people there say they are under attack

"It's just a matter of retaliating and people are retaliating back," the words of a young loyalist on the two days of violence that have wracked an interface area of east Belfast.

He told BBC Radio Ulster reporter Barbara Collins that nationalists started the trouble in the area, and that homes on his side of the divide have been under attack for the last six months.

He was asked if he agreed with the loyalist violence.

"One hundred per cent," he said, "If your homes are being attacked and the police aren't defending you - you have to defend yourself don't you?"

The lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast is rich with with murals, some celebrating the Titanic and the cranes of Harland and Wolff, others with depictions of masked loyalists brandishing weapons.

It has been said that the loyalist working class people in the area are unrepresented politically.

The young man interviewed by the BBC said they had been "pushed aside".

"As for me I'm happy enough here where I am - I'll never leave the place," he said.

He is asked if the people in the nationalist Short Strand have more opportunities and replies: "Maybe more opportunites, but certainly better politicians to speak for them - as far as our politicians, I don't feel they do anything for us - the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) as well."

He describes the mood of the community and how long he feels the tension will last.

"When they stop attacking our homes, our people, our community, maybe the tension will ease," he says.

"The mood's wild at the minute and has every right to be - we're under attack."

The BBC did try to speak to young people from the nationalist Short Strand but nobody responded to our calls.

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