Second night of rioting in west Belfast

Five police officers have been injured during a second night of disturbances in west Belfast.  On Friday night police were attacked by rival crowds throwing bricks, bottles and petrol bombs in the Broadway area.  Last night police were attacked in the same area by a crowd of about 100 people.

Stones, fireworks, paint and petrol bombs were thrown and a number of Land Rovers were attacked by men using sign posts, masonry and in one case an axe.

The officers suffered head and body injuries after being hit with missiles while one was hit with an iron bar.

A number of gas cylinders were also thrown into the road and a car was set alight during the disturbances.

Police closed the Stockman’s Lane off-slip and the Westlink at Clifton Street at about 2340 BST due to the danger of thrown items landing on the carriageway or striking passing vehicles.

Update According to the updated BBC report

“The violence that we saw last night was orchestrated,” Chief Inspector Emma Mooney said.

She said a police search before the main trouble started found a stash of heavy masonry, empty bottles with rags, paint and other items such as golf clubs and heavy iron bars.

She said she “firmly believed” these were to be used against police officers.

“We very much believe that that preparation obviously shows a degree of orchestration, but as to who is actually behind it we haven’t as yet been able to determine that,” she said.

And there’s this

Sinn Fein’s Briege Brownley said: “Last night some people in the area claimed they were down protecting the community basically against what they saw as a loyalist threat.

“Unfortunately this culminated then in criminal behaviour, which resulted in Kentucky Fried Chicken being damaged, cars being burnt and residents being abused.

“So what might have started off with noble intent ended up basically criminals gathering here from Divis, Ballymurphy and different places.”

Adds UTV notes further, brief, disturbances on Sunday night

Large bricks and bottles were thrown at police by a crowd of around 100 youths just after 11pm at the nationalist end of the Donegall Road.

However, the trouble lasted less than 30 minutes.

Further Update  According to the latest BBC report

Two men treated in hospital following Saturday night’s disturbances in west Belfast are believed to have been hit by police baton rounds.

Police said their wounds “were consistent with being struck” by baton rounds.

One person remains in hospital where his condition is described as stable.

Interestingly an earlier version of that latest BBC report referenced this Relatives for Justice statement, claiming that one of those being treated was “a 16 year old from the Clonard area”, but that reference has now been edited out.

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