Police in Belfast have blasted rioters after several warnings as unrest continued on the streets of Northern Ireland on April 8 for the seventh night in a row.
A heavy police presence was in operation, including officers in riot gears and teams of police dog, in an attempt to stop another night of disorder in the nationalist Springfield Road area in West Belfast.
“Disperse immediately or water cannon will be used,” the police warned a crowd of rioters.
However, rioters continued to attack the police, prompting police to deploy a water cannon after a number of warnings.
Gangs of youth threw stones, fireworks, and petrol bombs at police despite earlier calls for calm from cross-party politicians.
“More attacks on police, this time from nationalist youths. Utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas tonight,” Justice Minister and Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long stated on Twitter.
“This needs to stop now before lives are lost,” Long added.
Member of Parliament and Social Democratic and Labor Party Leader Colum Eastwood also issued a fresh call for an end to the violence, urging the youth involved to “go home.”
“This needs to stop now. There is absolutely no justification for destroying your community. Violence has never solved anything,” Eastwood stated on Twitter.
Earlier, footage circulating online showed youths attacking police vehicles as they were being cheered on from the sidelines.
According to a tweet by the Alliance Party, Long said that “adults standing by cheering, goading, and encouraging” the youth involved in the riots was “nothing short of child abuse.”