The Northern Ireland Secretary has appealed for calm following rioting in a loyalist area of Belfast.
Brandon Lewis described the unrest as “completely unacceptable”.
Eight police officers were injured on Friday evening after being targeted in Sandy Row by a crowd of mostly young people throwing bottles, bricks and fireworks.
The unrest we saw last night is completely unacceptable. Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in society. It is unwanted, unwarranted and I fully support the PSNI appeal for calm.— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) April 3, 2021
My thoughts are with the officers injured. @PoliceFedforNI @PoliceServiceNI
Mr Lewis said: “Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in society.
Appeal for calm
“It is unwanted, unwarranted and I fully support the PSNI appeal for calm.”
He added that his thoughts were with the eight officers injured.
The trouble came after four successive nights of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of Londonderry.
The disorder has flared amid ongoing tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.
Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Tensions ramped up further this week following a controversial decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.
All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.
Belfast rioting: Eight police officers were injured last night in the loyalist Sandy Row area over the NI protocol and disillusionment in the loyalist community.— J. O’Riordan (@gaeltwice) April 3, 2021
Northern Ireland is a complex mess of the UK’s creation and needed proper consideration, but Brexiters didn’t care.
Eight police officers injured after loyalist rioting in south Belfast – There are many casualties of Brexit but the damage to Northern Ireland Peace Process is the most terrible. Brexit is an abomination. https://t.co/zb46QytLvI— Graham Simpson (@grahambsi) April 3, 2021
Riots in #belfast city centre / Sandy Row under way tonight. @WestBelfastUPRG @Tracybelfast1 @mofitzmaurice @BelfastLive @News_Letter @StephenNolan @JamieBrysonCPNI @NIPolicingBoard @tinkerboy #COVID19 @DUPlead @utv pic.twitter.com/T4tXxDHrXU— lord Weeks (@Lord_weeks) April 2, 2021
The #DUP must accept the full responsibility for the restarting of unrest in Northern Ireland. They have been stirring up divisions in the community by their blind support for #Brexit and the #Tory and #Labour sellout on the #BrexitBill. https://t.co/LIOvnW50kx— Cymru am Byth #FBPE (@Penyrheolgerrig) April 3, 2021