Disgust at north Belfast sectarian attack on teenager

The scene in the New Lodge area of north Belfast where there was trouble on Saturday night. Police were attacked by a group of youths and bins were set alight
The scene in the New Lodge area of north Belfast where there was trouble on Saturday night. Police were attacked by a group of youths and bins were set alight

A sectarian attack on a 14-year-old Protestant boy in north Belfast at the weekend has been branded “abhorrent and disgusting”.

The teenager sustained head injuries after he was attacked by a gang of youths near an interface area at North Queen Street shortly after 7pm on Saturday.

Police confirmed they were investigating a sectarian motive for the assault.

They said the victim managed to “limp away” after being attacked by three males with sticks.

He was treated in hospital for his head injuries, which are not believed to be life threatening.

“This was a disgusting sectarian attack,” said Belfast councillor Dale Pankhurst.

“There’s tension around that interface. The vicious assault on that young lad is abhorrent.

“I would encourage anyone with information to go to the police. I would also encourage people to stay away from this interface and other interface areas to try and defuse this situation. There will be a lot of anger within the community regarding this.”

Mr Pankhurst added: “The young lad was involved in nothing it seems. He was just set upon because he was a Protestant.

“It’s abhorrent and disgusting, especially in 2018.”

The assault occurred during a number of disturbances near the North Queen Street interface on Saturday evening.

Bins were set alight and a police car was damaged by stone throwers as a crowd of around 30 young people gathered at Duncairn Parade and Victoria Parade.

PSNI Inspector Keith Hutchinson appealed to parents of young people in the area to take responsibility for their actions.