More violence in Northern Ireland despite appeals for calm

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(PA Media/dpa) – Violence has broken out on the streets of Northern Ireland again, despite appeals for calm.

A car was set alight in Sperrin Park in the Waterside area of Londonderry, while there were also reports of violent incidents in Carrickfergus, near Belfast on Monday night.

Both locations have been the scene of violence and unrest among the loyalist communities in recent days.

Former DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly, now a special adviser to First Minister Arlene Foster, urged those involved in the incidents in Carrickfergus to stop.

She tweeted: “Emotions can run high and frustrations deep, but injury, arrest and prosecution will blight your life forever.

“We believe in the rule of law, break it and there are rightful consequences. Get home, be safe and make your genuine concerns heard in democratic and non-violent ways.”
A gang of around 20 youths were spotted at the site of an enflamed car in Sperrin Park.

In Carrickfergus, a crowd of young people gathered in the North Road area and lit a fire in the middle of the road.

Earlier, the Police Service of Northern Ireland had appealed to community leaders to put a stop to the disorder that has taken place throughout much of the last week.

Throughout Monday afternoon, masked loyalist bands marched through the streets in towns across the region, including Portadown, Ballymena and Markethill.

The PSNI is investigating those marches, which appear not to have been notified to the Parades Commission.

It follows a turbulent week of events in Northern Ireland, as loyalist tensions simmered over into violence.

Five police officers sustained injuries after being pelted with petrol bombs and masonry in Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus, near Belfast, on Sunday night.

It brings the total number of police injured in incidents in Londonderry and Belfast over the Easter weekend to 32.

Petrol bombs were thrown at PSNI officers and bins and pallets set on fire in disturbing scenes in Belfast and Derry in recent days.

Speaking earlier on Monday, PSNI Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said police stand ready for another night of unrest, but urged community leaders to put a stop to it.

He said: “Right now as we speak, my officers are in those areas, they’re working hard to provide those police services. Be that in respect of crime, be that in terms of road safety, be that in terms of others concerns in the community.

“We’re there and we’re doing that. I will have additional resources available to me and we will respond to whatever may develop.”

Chief Superintendent Davy said the attacks were “clearly orchestrated.”

He added: “I believe that there’s a small group of disaffected criminal elements that are clearly involved in influencing young people, and I would appeal to young people in those areas not to allow this to happen.”

Davy said the Police Service of Northern Ireland will be engaging with the local community, councillors and representatives “to try and put a stop to this.”

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