Newtownabbey: Police attacked for second night in a row

Published
image copyrightPacemaker
image captionBurnt-out cars and debris remained at the roundabout on Sunday morning

Police have been attacked in Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of Belfast, for the second night in a row.

Bricks and bottles were thrown at police and a bin was set alight on Sunday night.

It happened again at the Cloughfern roundabout in the O'Neill Road area. Police asked motorists to avoid the area.

Petrol bombs were also thrown at police on the North Road in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, on Sunday night.

Earlier a 47-year-old man was charged with riot and throwing a petrol bomb following trouble in Newtownabbey on Saturday night.

He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on 26 April.

Thirty petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set alight during rioting in Newtownabbey on Saturday night.

Police said a crowd of 20 to 30 people gathered at the Cloughfern roundabout from about 19:30 BST to 22:30 BST on Saturday.

The crowd consisted of young people and older men, some of whom were wearing masks, according to police.

The trouble was described as an "orchestrated attack on police" by Ch Supt Beck.

"No one, no matter what line of work they are in, deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence," he said.

There were five nights of violence in a row in the Tullyally area of Derry.

At the scene: A planned confrontation

Mark Simpson, BBC News NI News Correspondent

When the police arrived to stop the violence on Saturday night, a member of the crowd shouted: "It's party time."

Clearly they were spoiling for a fight.

This was not a loyalist protest that went wrong. It looked like a planned confrontation.

By burning three vehicles at a busy roundabout, the crowd knew the police would arrive soon. They did.

What happened next was ugly, but the police operation was firm and controlled.

Within an hour, order had been restored.

Ch Supt Beck called on those involved in the attacks to "stop immediately".

"Their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they are representing," he said.

"No one wants to be dragged back to the dark days when rioting was a common occurrence on the streets of Northern Ireland."

One man had his clothing set alight while he was confronting police. A petrol bomb was thrown from the crowd behind him and landed in front of him.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

He fell to the ground and was caught up in the flames.

He ran to get help and members of the crowd helped to dampen the flames.

Police worked with "very closely" with local councillors in an effort to defuse the situation, according to Ch Supt Beck.

"We will continue to work with our partner agencies, community and elected representatives and the people of Newtownabbey to ensure we can all live in a peaceful society," he added.

Police appealed for anyone with information on the violence to contact them.

More on this story