Bus hijacked and set on fire and photographer assaulted as fresh violence flares

A bus has been set on fire at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankhill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI have said.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:49 am

The incident took place on Wednesday evening on the peace line street that links the loyalist Shankhill Road with the nationalist Springfield Road.

Stones were thrown at police while a press photographer was assaulted nearby during the course of their work on Wednesday evening.

First Minister Arlene Foster condemned the attack on Twitter, saying: “There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop.”

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SDLP MP Claire Hanna also criticised the attack, tweeting: “We’re told by the apologists that these protests & riots are borne of frustration about not being listened to, but an excellent photo journalist is attacked while trying to capture the story.”

Pictures have shown nationalist youths also attacking the police on the Springfield Road on Wednesday night.

Police are advising members of the public to avoid these areas.

“We would appeal to those with influence in the area to use it to help restore calm,” a PSNI statement said.

A bus is hijacked and set on fire during rioting on the Shankill road this evening.

Videos circulating online show a bus being pelted with petrol bombs and having its windows smashed where a crowd of people had gathered.

Translink Metro said it had withdrawn all services into the area until further notice due to road closures, as well as services in east Belfast.

A crowd of around 500 people, most of them adults, gathered on the corner of the junction at Lanark Way as events unfolded.

Further down the road a bonfire was lit where a crowd of approximately 100 people, mostly young, were assembled.

Nationalist youths clashing with the PSNI on the Springfield Road close to the peace line in west Belfast this evening. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The Stormont Assembly is set to be recalled on Thursday morning for an emergency debate following days of violence.

Riots and attacks on police have taken place repeatedly throughout the last week and have now resumed after a relative lull on Tuesday.

Police were attacked during another night of violence in a number of loyalist areas on Monday.

Nationalist youths clashing with the PSNI on the Springfield Road close to the peace line in west Belfast this evening. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
The PSNI coming under attack from nationalists on the Springfield Road close to the peace line in west Belfast this evening. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.