Police rule out paramilitary involvement in Belfast riots


The PSNI has ruled out paramilitary involvement in overnight clashes in east Belfast which left six police officers injured.

Seven people were arrested when rioting broke out in the Castlereagh Street and Albertbridge Road areas of the city after the “mini Twelfth” parade.

The PSNI believes the trouble was spontaneous disorder and not orchestrated.

“From what we can see there was no paramilitary involvement in what happened last night,” PSNI chief inspector Mark McEwan said. “The violence was spontaneous, it was by a number of people within the Castlereagh Street area attacking police, sparked off by crowds gathering on both sides.”

It is understood a number of minor incidents, including an assault, sparked the violence.

Officers used rubber bullets and a water cannon to try and disperse the crowds, bringing calm to the Albertbridge Road area during the early hours of this morning.

The Alliance Party condemned the third night of serious violence in east Belfast in recent weeks.

“People in the area want to get on with their lives free from fear and disruption and I would appeal to those involved in the trouble to act responsibly and stop hurting the community,” said local MP Naomi Long.

Two weeks ago petrol bombs were thrown at police and a press photographer was shot by suspected dissident republicans as hundred of rioters took to the streets in the area.

The UVF were blamed for orchestrating that violence.

The area was calm today.