Theresa Villiers to makes Commons statement on NI violence

SECRETARY of State Theresa Villiers is to make a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday on the Northern Ireland violence after a police woman cheated death in a petrol bomb attack.

The officer’s unmarked silver Skoda Octavia car was attacked by 15 masked men before being set alight as she guarded over east Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long’s constituency office.

The Secretary of State was urged to make an urgent statement MPs in London by her Labour counterpart Vernon Coaker.

She has joined widespread condemnation of the attempt to kill the woman constable.

She said: “It is absolutely disgraceful, the attack on the police officer last night was totally unacceptable.

The Conservative MP added that Prime Minister David Cameron was following the “grave situation”.

He has also been urged to make a statement to MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

The Commons statement will come after PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: “What we are seeing is mob rule.”

He added that Twitter and Facebook are being used to encourage riots across Northern Ireland.

The Chief Constable added: “I think what we are seeing here is the work of the social media bringing people out,” said the Chief Constable.

Police car petrol-bombed in east Belfast

Mr Baggott described the attack as attempted murder and said he was very angry about the actions that put his officer’s life at risk.

“These police officers are there simply doing their job protecting communities. There will be a full investigation and I will be hopeful that we will bring people before the courts as soon as possible,” he said.

“This is a phenomena of mob violence which has been stoked up by individuals and the social media.”

Police revealed that 40 roads were blocked across Northern Ireland on Monday in an eighth night of disruption.

The PSNI will be back on the streets on Tuesday as more protests are expected.

The disorder was sparked by a Belfast City Council vote to restrict the number of days when the Union flag is flown from Belfast City Hall.

Although some protests in towns and cities across NI have been peaceful, others have seen police pelted with bricks and stones and a total of 27 officers have so far been injured.

Last week Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said paramilitaries were behind the violence on Friday night, during which eight police officers were injured.

Violence erupted in Shaftsbury Square in south Belfast and running battles followed between loyalists and police.

But former UDA leader Jackie McDonald said that was not the case.

“There’s absolutely no paramilitary involvement in the violence here [on Friday night],” he told UTV.

Almost 40 people – including boys as young as 13 – have been arrested by police investigating the disorder.

On Monday, six men and six youths appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court charged over the violence.

All were bailed on £500 each and ordered to abide by night time curfews and not come within 500 yards of protests or trouble.

Police have deployed water cannon vehicles into troubled areas to disperse rioters.

Protests planned for Tuesday are:

* Mount Vernon, north Belfas – 4.30pm;

* Conway Square, Newtownards – 6pm

* Harland and Wolff Welders Club, east Belfast: 6.30pm;

* Portadown – 7pm;

* Magherafelt – 7.30pm.

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