LISTEN - Man arrested following unrest in Newtownabbey

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Car set on fire, Newtownabbey. Photopress.

Q Radio News/PA

The PSNI has confirmed that 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire following disorder last night in Newtownabbey.

20-30 people consisting of young people and older men some of whom were wearing masks gathered in the Cloughfern and O'Neill Road areas.

The violence lasted three hours.

Throughout the evening, local councillors worked with police in an effort to diffuse the situation. 

A 47 year-old man has been arrested and remains in PSNI custody this afternoon.

Chief Superintendent Beck continued: “This was an orchestrated attack on police who were carrying out their duties to help protect the people of Newtownabbey. 

“My officers put on their uniform every day and go out into the community they serve, not knowing what lies ahead of them. 

However this does not deter them from turning up every day to do their duty. 

No-one, no matter what line of work they are in deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence. 

The officers who serve the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families who wait every day on their loved ones coming home, hoping they have not been injured, or worse.

Chief Superintendent Beck said: “This was an orchestrated attack on police who were carrying out their duties to help protect the people of Newtownabbey.   

“My officers put on their uniform every day and go out into the community they serve, not knowing what lies ahead of them.    However this does not deter them from turning up every day to do their duty.  No-one, no matter what line of work they are in deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence.   The officers who serve the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families who wait every day on their loved ones coming home, hoping they have not been injured, or worse.

Chief Superintendent Beck concluded: “We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with a global pandemic, no-one needs the added pressure of disorder in their community.  Everyone deserves to live in peace, free from violence.  I would appeal to those who are taking to the streets to stop immediately, their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they claim they are representing.  The people of Northern Ireland deserve better. 


“No-one wants to be dragged back to the dark days when rioting was a common occurrence on the streets of Northern Ireland

“We will continue to work with our partner agencies, community and elected representatives and the people of Newtownabbey to ensure we can all live in a peaceful society.

It comes after eight people were arrested and 27 police officers injured during riots in Belfast and the North West on Friday night.

Fifteen officers were injured in south Belfast, while 12 officers were hurt in Derry/Londonderry after being targeted by mainly young people.

A number of people including children have been charged:

Alliance Party MLA John Blair condemned the violence and called for calm.

“This is to be utterly condemned and has happened at this location, for different reasons, previously.

“A need for calm and for parents to check where their children are,” he said.

On the same night, a security alert in Larne, Co Antrim was declared to be a hoax.

The scenes come amid 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 during 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.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and other unionist parties have condemned the violence.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly claimed the disturbances were “a direct consequence of the actions of political unionism”.

 

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