Bonfire youths go on the rampage

BONFIRE: The clean up begins after the former credit union building in Divis was gutted in a deliberate blaze BONFIRE: The clean up begins after the former credit union building in Divis was gutted in a deliberate blaze
By Evan Short

Youths building so-called anti-internment bonfires clashed with police in a number of nationalist areas of Belfast last night.

In the most shocking incident, a former credit union building in the Divis area of west Belfast was gutted in a blaze deliberately started by the anti social elements.

Trouble began early yesterday evening when Belfast City Council contractors moved into the Market to remove bonfire material.

Petrol bombs, stones and other missiles were used during hours of disorder. Two vehicles were destroyed after they were set on fire and others were damaged by stones and paint.

The PSNI said it had dealt with “small localised disorder caused by a small number of people” in the Friendly Street area.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Deirdre Hargey condemned the attacks as “nothing short of mindless vandalism”.

“Both commuters and residents have been affected,” she said.

“Cars have been smashed with stones and several have been set alight.

“Over the weekend there were a series of incidents of vandalism in the Market area.

“There is no defending this behaviour at all and it needs to stop now.”

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown also condemned the attacks, stating the disorder was “disgraceful, wrong and not representative of the community.”

Meanwhile, a former credit union building was set on fire after disorder in the Divis area on Monday night.

The fire at the disused building on Ross Road was dealt with by the fire service and police.

Police also responded to localised disorder in the New Lodge and North Queen Street areas of North Belfast.

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