BBC News | 15 July 2010 | 05:20 GMT
Police have fired a number of baton rounds during a fourth night of trouble in north Belfast. A car was set on fire and petrol bombs and fireworks were thrown during sporadic violence in Ardoyne. Two men in their late teens and early 20s were arrested. One was released pending further inquiries. Wednesday night’s trouble was less intense than the violence seen on previous evenings and involved fewer rioters. Police used a ‘water cannon’ to disperse the crowd. They said a number of police officers had been injured but none were thought to be in a serious condition.
Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said police would be conducting a major investigation into the violence. He said fewer people were involved on Wednesday night, but there was a "hard core" of about 12, intent on causing trouble. He thanked community workers for their efforts to calm the situation and appealed to them to redouble their efforts. "We will now continue to work hard to identity those involved and will be doing our utmost to put people before the courts," he said. "We are very clear that we can and we will continue to maintain public safety and public confidence – we would appeal for the assistance of everyone to that end."
Earlier, on Wednesday, a coffee jar bomb was found during an alert in the Highbury Gardens area. The army was called to the scene. Sinn Fein blamed dissident republicans for the device and said they showed "absolute disregard" for the people of the area. "This is the summer holidays, many children are off school and could have found this device," the area’s Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said. "The repercussions do not bear thinking about." There has been criticism that the police are not going in to arrest the trouble makers. The chairman of the NI Assembly’s Justice Committee, Lord Morrow, claimed a policy of appeasement by containment was in operation.
However, policing board member Basil McCrea who was at Ardoyne with senior PSNI officers to observe, defended the way the police were handling the trouble. "I am quite convinced that the tactics they are using are the right ones. But it does take a lot of time and it does tie up a lot of police officers," he said. "It is probably the best of a bad situation." On Wednesday a senior police officer said there would be arrests in coming days after detectives had studied CCTV footage.