POLICE have regained the streets of east Belfast on Tuesday night after loyalists tried erect ‘No-Go Zones’ in the area.
Officers have been deployed to the Newtownards Road after crowds erected barricades at Templemore Avenue.
Police came under attack from petrol bombs, bricks, masonry and fireworks by rioters on the lower Newtownards Road.
The trouble flared after a number of Union flag protests in the area. As a result of the rioting, the PSNI advised motorists to avoid the area until further notice
Templemore Avenue and the Newtownards Road had been closed to traffic due to an ongoing protest.
However, around 9pm on Tuesday night police regained control of the junction of Templemore Avenue and Newtownards Road.
Castlereagh Street, Beersbridge Road, and Glenmachan Street, which were closed, were re-opened.
Police moved along the Newtownards Road to remove barricades erected by loyalists to try and create a ‘No Go Zone’ area.
However, they have come attack from missiles.
Earlier a source in east Belfast said on Tuesday night: “The crowd are now holding the area in large numbers.
“The plan is to try and have a ‘No Go Zone’.
“The crowd is now wrecking the area. Police can’t gain entry at the moment.
“The new community centre is under threat of being set on fire. This is a very serious situation.
“From what we gather, there has been heavy petrol bombing.”
A stand-off developed before police pulled back in an attempt to ease tensions in the area.
After regrouping, police then moved in to dismantle barricades and pull away barricades blocking the roads.
Added the source: “This could be a long night.”
By 10.30pm, the area was relatively quiet although police said there were small pockets of minor trouble.
The sixth night of trouble comes despite pleas from First Minister Peter Robinson for the protests and the street violence to end.
He said unionists who believed in democracy didn’t attack PSNI.
Mr Robinson said that the ongoing disorder was “very damaging” to Northern Ireland’s reputation around the world.
“We’ve worked for a very long period of time to overcome the image of Northern Ireland as a place where there is violence and instability.
“Already we have had investors, both people who have invested and people who were about to invest asking questions, and we are having to give reassurances to them,” he said.
“It’s bad for our image, it is bad for our opportunities to bring jobs to Northern Ireland, and that ultimately means that it is bad for ordinary people on the ground who will not have the opportunity to work in those jobs that could have been created.”
The first meeting of the unionist taskforce created by Mr Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt in response to the ongoing flag violence will take place at Stormont on Thursday morning.
In a statement, Mr Robinson and Mr Nesbitt said the Unionist Forum will “seek to engage with the entire unionist community and address issues of concern”.
Last month Belfast City Council passed a motion to restrict the flying of the Union Flag at City Hall to only 17 designated days.
It has been followed by weeks of protests and rioting in which more than 60 police officers were injured and ove 100 people arrested.