Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.53 8 Apr 2021


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Police in west Belfast have deployed water cannon against rioters, as tensions continue in the city.

Youths have been throwing fireworks and other objects at PSNI officers in the Springfield Road area.

However, attempts by protesters to barricade one street were disrupted by other locals who took away burning pallets.

The recent disorder in Belfast has been described as the worst unrest in recent years.

Youths fire fireworks at the PSNI on the Springfield road, during further unrest in Belfast Youths fire fireworks at the PSNI on the Springfield road, during further unrest in Belfast. Picture date: Thursday April 8, 2021. Picture by: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

Responding to the latest scenes, Justice Minister Naomi Long tweeted: "More attacks on police, this time from nationalist youths.

"Utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas tonight.

"This needs to stop now before lives are lost."

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has been in talks with the Assembly parties and community leaders today.

The Northern Ireland Executive met earlier and released a joint statement condemning the violence.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also spoke earlier today, with the two leaders calling for calm.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, meanwhile, said some of the recent violent protests have been orchestrated by criminal gangs linked to loyalist paramilitaries groups.

Main image: The PSNI use a water cannon on the Springfield road, during further unrest in Belfast. Picture by: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

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