Northern Ireland

Appeals For Calm After 15 Police Officers Injured During Belfast Riots

The trouble came after four successive nights of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of Londonderry.

The Northern Ireland Secretary has appealed for calm following rioting in a loyalist area of Belfast.

Brandon Lewis described the unrest as "completely unacceptable".

A 13-year-old boy is among eight people arrested in connection with the incident in Sandy Row.

Police said a total of 15 officers were injured on Friday night when "a small local protest quickly developed into an attack on police officers".

Heavy masonry, metal rods, fireworks and manhole covers were thrown at police.

Mr Lewis said: "Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in society.

"It is unwanted, unwarranted and I fully support the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) appeal for calm."

He added that his thoughts were with the officers injured.

The trouble came after four successive nights of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of Londonderry.

The disorder has flared amid ongoing tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.

Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Tensions ramped up further this week following a controversial decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral despite COVID-19 restrictions.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

Cover image: File picture of members of the PSNI on patrol in Belfast (Picture PA).