SEVENTY people have been arrested and 47 people charged in connection with disorder since flag protests began on December 3.
The figure was released by the PSNI when detailing the latest trouble at the weekend
A PSNI spokeswoman said: “The public disorder [on Saturday] began at 2.50pm when police were confronted by a number of people on the Newtownards Road.
“Police were then attacked by a crowd of over 100 people throwing petrol bombs fireworks, smoke canisters, bricks and other masonry. Laser pens were also directed at officers’ faces. Water cannon were then deployed.
“Later in the afternoon police arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder after reports that shots had been fired.
“Police remained in the area around 6pm when the disorder was contained, however disorder broke out again at 7.30pm in the Albertbridge, Castlereagh Street and Templemore Avenue areas.”
The PSNI spokeswoman said reports were also received that a car was hijacked in the Ballymacarret area and one on the Newtownards Road and that a bus was hijacked.
Police are also investigating reports that a number of shots were fired in east Belfast during rioting which broke out on Saturday.
There were also reports of public disorder in the Ballymena area. Police said Larne Road Link was closed from Pennybridge Roundabout to the Bog Road, also on Saturday night.
Last night Chief Constable Matt Baggott said 52 members of the PSNI have been injured “protecting the community” during flag protests. Ulster’s most senior police officer commended the “tireless courage of my officers at this very difficult time”.
He said: “Fifty-two colleagues have now been injured while protecting the community during a series of violent incidents. You may be assured there will be sufficient resources in the event of more disorder for however long is necessary. The police service will continue to do everything possible to maintain law and order and we will deal firmly with outbreaks of violence.
“As you have seen in the last few days we will continue to apprehend and put people before the courts.”