Newtownabbey: Petrol bombs and bricks launched at PSNI

The scenes in Newtownabbey last night

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

Police said 27 officers were injured, and eight people have been charged, the youngest a boy of 13.

The clashes involved children as young as 12, according to a statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

PSNI officers were attacked with petrol bombs and fireworks, leading the Police Federation of Northern Ireland to ask: 'What is the point of this?'

Tension has also been stoked this week by a decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein party members who attended the funeral in June of Irish Republican Army figure Bobby Storey in blatant violation of Covid-19 guidelines.

Police and politicians in Northern Ireland appealed for calm on Monday after a third night of violence that saw Protestant youths start fires and pelt officers with bricks and gasoline bombs.

Meanwhile in Co Antrim, a recent series of drug seizures against the South East Antrim UDA - a renegade faction of the main grouping - have caused particular ill-feeling towards police.

Alliance Party MLA John Blair condemned the violence and called for calm.

The faction is believed to have been behind some of the weekend disturbances.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Northern Ireland's police chief over the controversy, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

Mr Beck said it was an "orchestrated attack on police".

About an hour later, in the North Road area of Carrickfergus, a crowd of up to 50 people gathered and 20 petrol bombs were pelted at police along with masonry.

"I would ask that anyone who has any influence in communities - whether parents, guardians, community or elected representatives - 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".

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly claimed the disturbances were "a direct outcome of the actions of political unionism".

"The disturbances in loyalist areas across the north are an outworking of the DUP's rhetoric and undermining of the PSNI and criminal justice system", he said.

'By their words and actions they have sent a very risky message to young people in loyalist areas.

Four adults - three men, aged 25, 21 and 18 years old, and a woman, aged 19 - will appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 30 April.

He said it was "totally unacceptable" that Friday was the fifth successive night of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of the city.

Seven individuals including three teenage boys have been charged over their roles in the riot. An estimated 300 people were present during the unrest, while two boys, aged 13 and 14, were among the eight people arrested.



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