Police attacked in Belfast following anti-NI protocol Brexit protest

3 November 2021, 23:04

Loyalists clashed with police following a protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol in Belfast.
Loyalists clashed with police following a protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol in Belfast. Picture: Getty

Police came under attack with missiles and fireworks following a demonstration against the Brexit protocol in north Belfast on Wednesday evening.

The disorder came on Lanark Way in the loyalist Shankill Road area close to the peace wall.

A protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol had been planned in the area on Wednesday evening. A small number took part in a demonstration before police came under attack.

Later fireworks and missiles were also thrown on the mainly nationalist Springfield Road side of the peace line.

Police came under attack with missiles and fireworks.
Police came under attack with missiles and fireworks. Picture: Getty

The PSNI described a "public order situation" in the Lanark Way area.

"A number of missiles and fireworks have been thrown towards police," they said.

Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan condemned those who organised the anti-protocol protest.

"I condemn the trouble on the Springfield Road and on Lanark Way this evening," he said.

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"There is absolutely no place in our society for this needless violence and local residents deserve to live in peace.

"Tonight's trouble is a direct consequence of the dangerous and irresponsible stunt organised by loyalists at the Lanark Way interface this evening.

"This so-called anti-protocol protest was deliberately organised at this interface with the sole intention of heightening tensions and causing trouble.

"I am calling on political unionism to show some leadership and call for an immediate end to all protests at interface areas before someone is seriously injured and they should tone down the provocative and dishonest rhetoric."

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Serious disorder erupted in the Lanark Way in April, which was partly attributed to Loyalist anger at a trade border in the Irish Sea under the Protocol's post-Brexit arrangements.

Earlier this week, a bus was burnt out in Newtownards in an attack politicians linked to loyalist opposition to the protocol.

The attack in the predominantly unionist area happened on the day set by the DUP earlier in the autumn to pull down the institutions at Stormont if major changes to the protocol had not been secured.

It was condemned by unionist leaders.

The DUP has not yet withdrawn ministers from the executive, insisting progress is being made in efforts to dismantle the contentious Irish Sea border.

Opposition to the arrangements that have created trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK was a factor behind rioting that flared in several loyalist areas across the region in April.