‘Some 200 loyalists wearing balaclava helmets appeared in the late evening and attacked the Catholic Short Strand enclave in east Belfast with fireworks, bricks and stones despite a heavy police presence. A photographer was shot in the leg during the outbreak of violence, and water cannons were moved into the area.
While there were no serious injuries during the clashes, a police vehicle was struck by loyalist bullets. Police blamed the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force for starting the trouble, in which two Protestant youths were wounded in the legs.
Police Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum described the incident as originating with loyalists.
“It started when a group of young men made their way into the area of the Short Strand and did, unquestionably, attack homes in that community,” he said. “That precipitated a response from the community in the Short Strand and then we were left with two communities who, for the next four hours, were seeking to involve themselves in conflict. We had hundreds of people who actually were hell bent on disorder.”
Ch Supt McCrum said loyalists fired five shots and republicans fired six, and he added that there was nothing to suggest that any shots had come from the IRA. But the widespread belief is that Short Strand, as a particularly beleaguered ghetto, contains its own defence force with guns for use against such loyalist attacks.’
The Irish Times reports that:
‘…an explosive device was thrown at a police vehicle in West Belfast in the early hours of the morning. Nobody was hurt in the incident near the Kennedy Centre in Andersonstown. Police were responding to reports of a stolen vehicle when they came under attack. The area was closed off for a number of hours and bomb disposal experts attended the scene.’
The clashes are ongoing as British Unionist gangs led and organised by the UVF continue to attack Nationalist homes and families with blast bombs and gunfire.
- British Unionist Gangs Attack Nationalist Community In Belfast (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)