Police in riot gear on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast during sporadic violence

Police in riot gear on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast during sporadic violence

POLICE are advising motorists to avoid parts of east Belfast on Monday night.

They are advisors drivers to avoid the lower Newtownards Road and Templemore Avene area of East Belfast due to ongoing public disorder in the area.

PSNI plastic AEP baton rounds have been fired as dusk falls across the city.

Police riot units are also in the Donegall Road/Glenmachan area after rival crowds gathered.

Police say the Shore Road has now reopened and crowds at Mount Vernon housing estate have dispersed.

However, a large crowd remain in Twaddell Avenue. “Police continue to monitor the situation,” say the PSNI.

Earlier, the PSNI said four blast bombs and several petrol bombs were thrown at police on the lower Newtownards Road.

One AEP plastic baton round was fired.

The attacks are being treated as attempted murder by a team of detectives set up to investigate the violence.

It is the fourth consecutive night of violence in Belfast.

Sinn Fein claimed that a number of pensioner’s bungalows have been attack in Strand Walk close to the interface.

However, this is disputed by loyalist residents in the Pitt Park area of the lower Newtownards Road.

They say missiles were also thrown by loyalists but only after their community was attacked by republican youths.

Police have deployed water cannon and motorists are asked to avoid the area as the disorder continues.

“Police would appeal for calm in the area and would call on those with influence to do what they can to help restore calm,” a PSNI spokesman said.

In North Belfast, Twaddell Avenue is closed as several hundred people carry out a protest.

The Crumlin Road at Ardoyne in north Belfast has been closed after a pipe bomb device was thrown at a police vehicle.

PSNI riot squad units dealing with trouble in the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast

PSNI riot squad units dealing with trouble in the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast

The police say the device was thrown at officers while they were observing a white line loyalist protest.

The device landed behind police officers as they faced the protestors.

However, protestors claim the attack was on loyalists who had taken to the streets.

The PSNI say the device was thrown from the nationalist Brompton Park area of Ardoyne.

The device did explode but no one was injured.

Loyalists claim it was thrown from the direction of a local bookmaker’s shop in the nationalist area.

Army technical officers have been tasked to deal with the device.

The road is closed between Tennent Street and Twadell Avenue and motorists are asked to avoid the area.

PSNI Superintendent Emma Bond said: “We consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we are not dealing with a much more serious incident and that all of the officers were able to walk away from that situation unharmed.

“We have appealed for calm in the area and I continue to do so.

“I would appeal to anyone with influence in the community to exert it to ensure that the next few days pass off without incident.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, condemned the attack in north Belfast, which she said was “deplorable”.

DUP assembly member William Humphrey said loyalist protesters were demonstrating peacefully in the Twaddell Avenue area when the incident happened.

He described the attack as an “attempt to injure and kill”.

Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly said the attack was “completely unacceptable” and “not supported by the vast majority of the community in Ardoyne”.

Forty-four police officers have been injured over three nights of rioting in Belfast.

Officers were attacked in the Woodvale area of north Belfast on Sunday night.

It followed more serious rioting on Friday and Saturday nights after a Parades Commission determination that a parade by three Orange Order lodges would not be allowed to march along a stretch of the Crumlin Road that separates loyalist and nationalist communities on its return journey from the main Belfast 12 July demonstration.


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