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Running battles at Duncairn not sectarian

By Evan Short

A Newington community worker has said a recent outbreak of violence that saw running battles fought on Duncairn Gardens has been sparked over a fall out between friends and are not sectarian clashes as reported earlier this week.

A large number of teenagers confronted each other around 7pm on Monday evening (March 10) with fist fights breaking out in the street. Horrified onlookers watched as a number of youths punched each other in the evening brawl.

One eyewitness said they saw at least one youth get knocked to the ground and beaten, although a police spokesman said no one was treated for injuries.

More trouble was reported 24 hours later (Tuesday, March 11) when a teen from the Newington area was hospitalised after having his arm broken in an attack thought to be linked to the ongoing feud.

The youth was on the lower Antrim Road near the New Lodge when he was set upon and beaten.

Kevin Murphy from the Greater Newington Residents Association said there was a lot of concern at the violence.

“This is a very scary situation and we are concerned that there will be an escalation. I was talking to the mother of the young lad who had his arm broken and she is very concerned. This has all started because of infighting between old friends and it needs to be nipped in the bud immediately.”

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed they were called to an incident on Monday evening.

“Police in North Belfast received a report of a large group of youths in the Duncairn Gardens area shortly before 8:20pm on the evening of Monday 10th March.

“As police arrived in the area, the crowd dispersed from the scene. There were no reports of any violence and no arrests were made.”

They also confirmed they were investigating and assault from Tuesday night.

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