Further unrest on the streets of Northern Ireland

Cars set on fire in Newtownabbey spark fears of further trouble in Northern Ireland

Cars set on fire in Newtownabbey spark fears of further trouble in Northern Ireland

- The disturbance in the Loyalist area north of Belfast, where petrol bombs were thrown and cars were set alight, follows a night of violence in the Northern Ireland capital in which police officers were injured prompting calls for calm.

Cars were set alight and masked people pelted a police van with petrol bombs in further disorder in pro-British parts of Northern Ireland on Saturday amid rising post-Brexit tensions in the region.

It comes after disorder in Newtownabbey on Saturday night, and rioting in the Sandy Row area of Belfast and Derry on Friday night.

Many pro-British unionists fiercely oppose the new trade barriers introduced between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom as part of Britain's departure from the European Union and have warned that their unease could lead to violence.

Speaking on the same programme, Colin McGrath, Chairman of the SDLP and MLA for South Down, said it was "particularly sad" to see violence on the streets of Northern Ireland again and to have teenagers involved.

Meanwhile seven people have been charged with riot after the disturbances in the Sandy Row area.

Main image: The scenes in Belfast on Friday night. A total of eight people were arrested in connection with the riots.

All four are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on April 30.

The violence broke out at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey and in the North Road area of nearby Carrickfergus.

Police attend to a scene at Cloughfern as loyalist protesters hijack and burn vehicles on Saturday

A 47-year-old man was arrested and remained in police custody. Police said the rioters attacked them with masonry, metal rods, fireworks and manhole covers.

Several dozen men mounted an "orchestrated attack on police", he said.

Speaking today, North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck appealed to those who are taking to the streets to stop immediately as "their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they claim they are representing".

Northern Ireland's first minister, Arlene Foster, has urged young people not to "get drawn into disorder" and refrain from attacking police.

A DUP lawmaker, Christopher Stalford, said rioters were "acting out of frustration" after prosecutors opted not to charge any members of Sinn Fein last week for alleged breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.

The police described the events as a "staged attack".

"And I send my strong support to all of the rank-and-file police officers that are on duty over this Easter weekend".

"I appeal to our young people not to get drawn into disorder which will lead to them having criminal convictions and blighting their own lives. There is no place for it in society", he said.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Northern Ireland's police chief over the controversy, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

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