“There was no provocation”

With sporadic violence reported in Ardoyne tonight, here’s an account of last night’s violence in Belfast during which 22 police officers were injured, an ambulance and a fire engine attacked, and a bus hijacked and driven at police lines.  From the BBC report

Community worker Robert McClenaghan, from the Falls Residents Association, said the violence was organised by nationalist youths.

More than 40 petrol bombs were thrown at police, who said crowds of about 150-200 people were involved in the violence at Broadway and about 200 in both the Oldpark and New Lodge areas of north Belfast.

Crowds of nationalists threw petrol bombs and masonry at police who fired 51 plastic bullets in the Broadway and Oldpark areas.

Mr McClenaghan said the violence was “nothing but thuggery”.

“There was no provocation. There was nothing from the Protestant, loyalist, unionist community. Broadway interface was quiet,” he said.

“What you had was 100 or 150 of these young people all tooled up and masks around their faces.

“They were armed with petrol bombs, they were armed with sticks and stones. They had wheelie bins with extra ammunition that they were pulling behind them.”