Youths attack police and cars in Belfast's Markets

Image source, Press Eye
Image caption,
Hooded youths were photographed throwing objects at police vehicles

Petrol bombs, stones and other missiles have been used to attack police vehicles and parked cars during hours of disorder in Belfast's Markets.

Two cars were destroyed after they were set on fire and other vehicles were damaged by stones and paint.

The trouble followed the removal of material gathered by republican youths for an anti-internment bonfire.

Officers in riot gear have since been deployed to the area and number of police Land Rovers remain at the scene.

Image source, Press Eye
Image caption,
Police in riot gear have been deployed to the scene
Image source, Press Eye
Image caption,
Police responding to reports of stone throwing came under attack themselves

Bonfires are traditionally lit in some republican areas to mark the anniversary of the introduction of interment - detention without trial - on 9 August 1971.

Supt Andrea McMullan said: "Police are dealing with some localised disorder in the Friendly Street area of the Markets, which has been caused by a small group of youths.

"We are working with local representatives and members of the community to address the situation.

"There has been some stone throwing, damage to parked cars and a number of petrol bombs have also been thrown."

'Mindless vandalism'

One man, who told the BBC he had been parking in the area for about a year, said he found his car burned out when he finished work.

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Image caption,
One of the two cars destroyed in the attacks on Monday afternoon
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Sinn Féin councillor Deirdre Hargey condemned the attacks as 'nothing short of mindless vandalism'

He said police could not tell him what happened, only that they had found the car burned out.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said he felt "frustrated" and would now have to buy a new car.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Deirdre Hargey condemned the attacks as "nothing short of mindless vandalism".

"Both commuters and residents have been affected," she said.

"Cars have been smashed with stones and several have been set alight."

"Over the weekend there were a series of incidents of vandalism in the Market area.

"There is no defending this behaviour at all and it needs to stop now."

'Go home'

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough Brown also condemned the attacks.

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Ms Hargey asked parents to take responsibility for their children and know where they were at all times.

"The community, both young and old, have been involved in a positive community festival over the last few days and those involved in this negative behaviour damage the good reputation of this community," she said.

In her statement, Supt McMullan said: "Local residents of the Markets do not want this kind of activity on their doorsteps and we would urge those engaged in violence and criminal damage to stop - and go home."

Image caption,
Smoke from the cars could be seen from Belfast Central railway station