NEWTOWNABBEY. SECONDO ROUND DI SCONTRI NELL’AREA DI RATHCOOLE
I riottosi concedono la replica delle loro azioni nella seconda serata consecutiva a Rathcoole
Nemmeno il tempo di elencare i dettagli degli scontri che hanno infuocato la scorsa notte di Newtownabbey, che i riottosi si sono riuniti nuovamente sullo stesso scenario.
Bombe molotov e un autobus guidato da una donna nuovamente dato alle fiamme nei pressi della Cloughfern Roundabout, in questo martedì sera all’insegna della violenza.L’incendio del bus prova la mancata interruzione di alcune linee del trasporto pubblico, come era stato ipotizzato questo pomeriggio
La PSNI massicciamente presente nell’area lealista di Rathcoole, sta cercando di fare leva su personalità locali che godano di una certa influenza, di intervenire nel tentativo di fare rientrare nei ranghi i giovani che sono tornati oggi ad adunarsi nelle prime ore della serata. Appello accorato degli agenti di polizia ai genitori a farsi carico delle responsabilità dei propri figli cercando di evitare un loro coinvolgimento nei riots.
Rathcoole, seconda notte di disordini (Video)
La situazione nell’enclave lealista di Rathcoole è pericolosamente tesa dalla serata di ieri 25 ottobre 2010, quando un folto gruppo di giovani (valutato tra le 200 – 400 unità) hanno dato vita ad una notte di scontri, che stando alla resa dei conti dell’indomani hanno provocato danni per circa 200.000 sterline.
Numerose landrovers della PSNI danneggiate da lanci di pietre, razzi, molotov. Le violenze hanno toccato il loro picco nell’assalto di un ambulanza con a bordo un paziente e nell’aggressione di un autista di autobus, veicolo che è stato poi dato alle fiamme dai riottosi.
“E’ stato un attacco sinistro, cinico e brutale, contro una persona che stava svolgendo il suo lavoro. Queste persone sono salite a bordo del bus e hanno versato benzina al suo interno. Poi hanno trascinato giù l’autista e lo hanno picchiato. Il conducente ha subito un infortunio al viso durante l’attacco e dobbiamo mettere in guardia l’opinione pubblica ,che non permetteremo che la sicurezza personale dei nostri dipendenti venga compromessa nel corso di disordini civili”, ha tenuto a sottolineare Michael Dornan (Unite).
“Quello che ho visto qui la scorsa notte è stato un sacco di persone giovani in preda alla furia. La polizia non è riuscita a entrare e prendere il controllo della situazione”, ha accusato Ken Wilkinson (UUP), che si sente di escludere che quanto accaduto sia di responsabilità lealista.
Duncan McCausland, Assistente Capo della PSNI, ha cercato di difendere l’operato delle forze di sicurezza pure affermando che nessun arresto è stato effettuato, ma che si ritiene che le registrazioni video delle CCTV giocheranno un ruolo fondamentale nell’identificazione dei protagonisti del riot.
La polizia ha inoltre comunicato di aver ricevuto segnalazioni in merito alla presenza sulla scena dei disordini di ‘elementi sinistri’, tra cui un uomo armato di pistola.
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- Renewed trouble in Newtownabbey (bbc.co.uk)
- Loyalist paramilitaries ‘at riot’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Loyalist riot serious say police (bbc.co.uk)
- Brian Ervine: “The media are fixated with the paramilitary link…” (sluggerotoole.com)
Bus hijacked in fresh rioting (UTV)
A bus has been hijacked and set on fire near Newtownabbey’s loyalist Rathcoole estate in a second night of rioting in the area, police have said.
The bus was hijacked in the Cloughfern Roundabout in the town on Tuesday evening.
A number of petrol bombs have also been thrown at police.
Youths gathered in the Rathcoole estate area earlier on Tuesday evening.
Police have urged anyone with influence in the community to persuade people to refrain from riotous behaviour.
They have also asked parents to take responsibility for their children and ensure that they do not become involved.
Police say they are maintaining a heavy presence in the Rathcoole area.
They are advising motorists to avoid the Cloughfern Corner on the Doagh Road and Station Road.
On Monday six cars and a bus were destroyed in violence which caused up to £200,000 worth of damage.
Ambulance attacked during loyalist riots (UTV)
Police have said their actions did not spark the rioting near Newtownabbey’s loyalist Rathcoole estate, during which an ambulance with a patient on board was attacked.
Over 150 officers responded within minutes of the violence which flared on Monday night, causing up to £200,000 worth of damage.
In the worst of the attacks on passing vehicles, bricks were hurled at the ambulance and the driver of a hijacked bus was beaten.
“The actions were moronic,” John McPoland from the Ambulance Service told UTV.
“And the main concern for us is what actually could have happened. Had this missile come through the window, hit the driver, there could have been a tragic accident.”
Bus services were suspended for a time in the area, as a union representative hit out at those responsible for the attack on a bus driver.
“It was a sinister, callous and brutal attack, carried out on a person carrying out his work. These people boarded the bus and poured petrol inside. They then trailed him off the bus and beat him,” Unite’s Michael Dornan told UTV.
“The driver has sustained a facial injury during the attack and we have to warn the general public that we will not allow our members safety to be compromised during civil unrest.”
The rioting erupted when a large crowd gathered at O’Neill Road at about 8.30pm. Police and eye witness estimates have placed the numbers involved somewhere between 200 and 400.
It has been suggested the disturbances were a response to earlier police searches in Rathcoole.
A 34-year-old man had been arrested and a quantity of suspected cannabis seized during a PSNI-led investigation into UVF murders in north Belfast.
But Chief Superintendent Henry Irvine denied that the actions of officers during those searches were partly responsible for the trouble that broke out.
“I would reject absolutely any suggestion that police officers acted in any other way than professionally,” he told UTV.
“There are always tensions when searches are carried out, but police officers will always operate within the law.”
Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland added that, while no arrests were made during the rioting, it is expected that CCTV footage will be able to identify those involved.
“The Rathcoole estate and the adjoining area is like a rabbit warren – it’s full of small streets and alleyways which these young people scattered down,” Mr McCausland said.
“The rioters dispersed very rapidly the minute the police moved in. If we could have made arrests we would have made arrests.”
Police also received reports of “sinister elements” – including a man armed with a gun – at the scene.
PUP spokesperson, Ken Wilkinson, has said the UVF – which his party has links to – had no involvement in the trouble.
“I don’t believe it was orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“What I saw here last night was a lot of young people running rampage. The police failed to come in and take control of the situation.”
Mr Wilkinson believes a police search at the home of a disabled woman led to a rise in tensions which simmered over.
“I am not condoning what happened here”, he told UTV. “I am condemning what took place.
“A little bit of sympathy could have been shown to the lady within the house. A little bit of civility goes a long way and that was not shown yesterday to the lady of that house.”
Community worker Phil Hamilton, who was at the scene, said there had been recent tension in the area between police and local people.
“I understand the PSNI have a job to do, but it’s common sense at times that’s needed,” he said.
“This frustration has been boiling and boiling. Local communities have met the PSNI so that when the police come in to do searches there is dialogue. People are not asking for prior warning, all they’re asking for is information on what’s going on in their area.”