Eight cops injured in Bonfire Night of ‘violence’ as officers petrol-bombed amid clash with youths

6 November 2023, 08:19 | Updated: 6 November 2023, 08:20

Eight officers were injured during the 'serious disturbances'.
Eight officers were injured during the 'serious disturbances'. Picture: Alamy/PA

By Jenny Medlicott

Fireworks and petrol bombs were thrown at police officers in a night of ‘unprecedented violence’ on Bonfire Night.

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Riot police responded to a mob of youths throwing fireworks and petrol bombs in an Edinburgh suburb on Guy Fawkes Night.

Video footage showed youths throwing explosives at officers' feet in what Police Scotland described as “unprecedented levels of violence” against its force.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said nine crews were attacked in just eight hours.

Police were spotted holding shields among a large amount of vehicles in the Hay Avenue area of the Scottish capital - after there were reports of the pyrotechnics being fired around 4.40pm on Sunday.

Disturbances in Glasgow and Dundee were also reported.

Police Scotland said a group made up of around 50 youths had been directing fireworks at vehicles and buildings with members of the public inside on Sunday.

“When police arrived, attacking both uniformed and Public Order Officers with fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles,” a force statement said.

Police said there had been serious disturbances.
Police said there had been serious disturbances. Picture: Alamy

“Detectives investigating the attacks on officers within Niddrie are actively pursuing a number of individuals, who they believe were providing local youths with fireworks and petrol bombs to target police. Inquiries into this matter are continuing.”

The force said only a "small number" of arrests were made during the incident, but that it expects further arrests will be made in the coming days.

Eight officers sustained minor injuries as a result of the "significant challenges" brought about by the youths.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, Gold Commander for Operation Moonbeam said: “The violent nature of the situation witnessed in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh is extremely concerning, not least because it is believed young people were being actively encouraged and co-ordinated by adults to target officers while they carried out their duties.

“Police Scotland officers were subjected to unprecedented levels of violence, and yet they continued to demonstrate professionalism and dedication to keeping communities safe. I am both proud of, and grateful to, all of those who were on duty and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public during this very challenging time.”

Police Scotland confirmed in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday: "#OpMoonbeam resources are supporting officers in Hay Avenue to deal with significant fireworks disorder.

"Officers are being attacked with fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles.

"Some local roads are closed. Please avoid the area for the time-being while we respond."

An earlier statement said: "Reports were received of a large number of youths involved in the antisocial use of fireworks and local officers requested support from the #OpMoonbeam specially-trained Public Order resource.

"Police in attendance are currently being subjected to attacks involving fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles and the public is asked to avoid the area while the response is ongoing.

"There are a number of local road closures in place and we will advise when these re-open.

"The public is thanked for their assistance with this matter."