22/04/2002

SDLP express concern over weekend of violence

The use of plastic baton rounds during rioting in north Belfast is to be raised with the Northern Ireland Security Minister and the Acting Chief Constable.

The SDLP has expressed concern about plastic bullets which were fired as the security forces came under attack in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Sunday April 21.

It followed sectarian clashes between rival gangs at the interface between Twaddell Avenue and the Ardoyne shops.

A Police Service spokesman said they came under “sustained attack” from around 150 youths hurling blast bombs, petrol bombs, stones, fireworks and other missiles.

The police have also released statistics in relation to public disorder for the weekend of Friday 19 April-Sunday 21 April. They reveal that the security forces fired three plastic baton rounds over the weekend.

However four police officers were injured during rioting on Sunday and one of the officers received severe injuries after being struck by a stolen BMW car and dragged for 250 yards along Clifton Street. The police are treating the incident as attempted murder and the officer remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Police also recovered 170 empty crated bottles and during the disturbances five police vehicles were damaged.

(AMcE)

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