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Friday, April 23, 2021

First Minister condemns another night of riots

Another night of riots has erupted in Belfast this evening which saw a bus hijacked and set alight.

Crowds gathered around the Springfield Road area of the city the police have said.

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A statement from the Police reads: “Police are advising members of the public to avoid these areas. We would appeal to those with influence in the area to use it to help restore calm.”

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The bus was set alight at the junction of the Shankill Road and Lanark Way.

Translink has said that the driver of the hijacked bus was, “shaken but not injured”.

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Speaking after a Translink bus was hijacked and attacked in West Belfast during ongoing disturbances, the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Those attacking their own communities and their own public services are achieving nothing and if this doesn’t stop now it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed. Tonight with deep regret Translink has had to suspended some services in Belfast due to ongoing disturbances.

“Thankfully no one has been hurt in this incidence, but those responsible for this attack, and ongoing attacks on the police, need to stop and stop now. 

“I appeal for calm and call on those destroying their own communities and those fanning the flames to end this recklessness before someone is seriously hurt or killed.”

Tonight disturbances followed a planned peacefully protest earlier in the city.

First Minister Arlene Foster has taken to Twitter to say: “There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop.”

MLA Claire Sugden has also condemned the violence saying: “Shameful images in Belfast this evening. Hoping bus driver and others caught up in the violence are safe.

“Violence and rioting are not for a cause – this is criminality which achieves nothing other than to screw up the lives of those involved and distract from the thugs leading this behaviour.

“Paramilitaries are criminals deliberately keeping communities down – don’t let them, stop this. The people of Northern Ireland do not want it, communities living in the midst of this do not want it.

“I understand people are angry, I understand people feel they are not being listened to, but this will not replace your voice, it will remove it.

“We need calm and we need leadership.”

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