Another night of violence despite calls for halting of protests after Prince Philip’s death

Calls for the halting of loyalist demonstrations in the wake of Prince Philip’s death fell on deaf ears last night as fresh trouble broke out across Northern Ireland.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 8:10 am
Updated Saturday, 10th April 2021, 9:20 am

While many planned peaceful protests were cancelled as a mark of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh, there was still violence in parts of north Belfast and Coleraine.

Police were attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire at Tiger’s Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast, with riot vans and police dogs in tow.

Some officers came under attack, with missiles such as stones and bottles thrown at them, and reports of petrol bombs being used.

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PSNI deal with a burning hijacked car in the Tiger's Bay area of North Belfast last night. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

There was a heavy police presence in the area overnight, with reports that stones were also thrown at officers in the nearby, nationalist area New Lodge.

One eyewitness told the PA news agency: “The worst thing I saw was a car that was stolen from a nearby street and lit on fire.

“Then someone drove it and jumped out allowing the car to free wheel into the police barricade.

“Compared to previous nights, I wouldn’t say it was any more violent than the past few nights.

Police in riot gear in north Belfast on Friday night. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

“There was plans for protests across the city but they were called off due to Prince Philip’s death.

“However it seemed a crowd gathered at Tiger’s Bay and then trouble ensued. Youths were seen to been thrown masonry and petrol bombs.”

PSNI Chief Superintendent Muir Clarke said: “We would appeal for calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in communities, please use that influence to ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm tonight.”

There were sporadic incidents of unrest in Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with reports of a road blocked off with a barricade which was then set alight in Coleraine, Londonderry.

Police coming under attack in the New Lodge in north Belfast, on Friday night . Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

Local SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said: “The last thing people in this community want is further disruption. I understand that tensions are running high but resorting to this kind of behaviour only damages local people and services.

“The crowd burning refuse, blocking roads and intimidating people in this community needs to stop. They need to go home and let people get on with their lives.

“This is a time for calm. Things don’t need to escalate. Young people don’t need to end up with criminal convictions. I’m appealing for everyone to exercise their influence to reduce tensions in our community.”

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to participate in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: “We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family.

“The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning.”

Meanwhile, two men are due to appear in court on Saturday after being charged charged in connection with the rioting that took place in Lanark Way, west Belfast on Thursday night.

Detectives investigating the disorder have charged a 24-year-old man and a 32-year-old man with riot.

The 32-year-old was also charged with possession of a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances.