Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 13:49 UK

Third night of flashpoint trouble

Police in riot gear chased youths who had attacked them with scaffolding poles

Violence has flared in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast for a third night.

About 100 youths gathered in the Brompton Park area at about 2300 BST. Some threw stones, glass bottles and at least one petrol bomb at police.

At one point, officers in riot gear chased youths who had attacked them with scaffolding poles. Two men aged 17 and 18 were arrested.

Trouble began on Monday after dissident republicans tried to disrupt a loyalist Twelfth of July parade.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said police warned him on Wednesday night that dissident republicans have made threats against him.

On a third night of disturbances in the Ardoyne, a car was set on fire in the Balholm area, and an attempted hijacking was reported at Balholm Drive at about 0030 BST.

One police officer sustained an injury to his head and foot.

Debris from Wednesday night's trouble
For it to be so sustained and carrying on for so long is very disheartening
Fr Gary Donegan
Local priest

Police said order was restored at about 0130 BST and officers remained in the area all night.

Earlier in the evening, police said there had been sporadic incidents of disorder in the Ligoneil Road area of north Belfast and at Springfield Road in the west of the city.

A police spokeswoman said they were continuing to work closely with the community to end the disturbances.

"No-one wants this kind of disorder and violence in their neighbourhood, preventing members of the community from going about their normal routine and causing damage to homes and businesses in the area," she said.

Father Gary Donegan of Holy Cross Church said he had hoped the area would have calmed down by Wednesday night.

"I certainly was expecting a second night of trouble, but not a third night - for it to be so sustained and carrying on for so long is very disheartening," he said.

Second arrest

Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man arrested on Thursday by detectives investigating a shot fired at police during rioting in the area on Monday has been released unconditionally.

A 28-year-old man arrested on Wednesday remains in custody. Supporters of the arrested man staged a peaceful protest outside Antrim Road police station.

On Tuesday night, police were attacked again in Ardoyne by a crowd throwing petrol bombs and other missiles. The trouble on Tuesday night was described by Sinn Fein as a "continuation" of the previous evening's rioting, which the party blamed on dissident republicans.

On Monday night, the trouble left a total of 21 police officers injured.

Blast bombs, fireworks, stones and other missiles were thrown by republicans during the disturbances.

Officers responded with 18 baton rounds and water cannon.

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