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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 01:45 GMT
Police injured during Belfast riots
Riots on Crumlin road
Hijacked cars were set alight by rioters
Police officers and soldiers have been injured during a second consecutive night of rioting in north Belfast.

Security forces faced sustained attacks from both nationalist and loyalist crowds.

Police said about 20 officers were hurt in the violence, in which petrol bombs, fireworks and two blast bombs were thrown.

Schools have also been targets of aggression - earlier on Thursday a group of men entered a Catholic secondary school and smashed 17 vehicles in the car park as pupils looked on.

Protestant pupils at another school were driven home in armoured police vehicles.

Click here for a map of where the rioting took place

But governors at the Catholic Holy Cross primary school, which closed after trouble in the Ardoyne flared on Wednesday, say it will re-open on Friday.

Nationalist and loyalist communities have blamed each other for the rioting, but youths from both sides were out in force.

Police vans
Police vans were the targets of petrol bombs
Police fired seven plastic bullets after about 300 nationalists, some on rooftops, launched a volley of petrol bombs, acid bombs and other missiles.

Two blast bombs exploded among police as they confronted the crowds in the Ardoyne.

Army bomb disposal experts made safe three devices which failed to explode when they were thrown at police lines by nationalists.

Nearby, about 60 loyalists confronted troops at Twaddell Avenue where a soldier was injured when hit in the face by an acid bomb.

Police said a number of arrests had been made.

The violence erupted on Thursday just 24 hours after scores of officers were injured and four civilians received wounds from shotgun pellets during sustained sectarian rioting.

Police say the latest trouble began at about 1900GMT when about 100 nationalist youths attacked police Land Rovers in Brompton Park in Ardoyne.

Protestant and Catholic schools were forced to take action amid the rising tension, with some pupils being sent home early.

Bus hijack

The concerns followed the attack on vehicles at the Catholic Our Lady Of Mercy Secondary School in the Protestant Ballysillan area of north Belfast.

The teachers' union, INTO, said its members were contemplating strike action in protest at the developments.

We are going to resist the pressure we are coming under to have any sort of protest, and we are calling on people to remain calm

Community worker Mark Coulter
Elsewhere, police said a pregnant bus driver was hijacked by a crowd of men at the Ardoyne shops and ordered to drive as one held a hammer against her head.

First Minister David Trimble described the scenes in north Belfast as depressing.

He said the trouble was obstructing efforts to set up a community forum aimed at improving the situation on the ground.

Measures would be discussed with community activists on Friday, he said.

"We're prepared to put resources into mediation if mediation is going to be the way in which we get that forum into existence," he said.

Parents' choice

But the extent of the increased tension was voiced by residents of Upper Ardoyne who accused nationalists of trying to provoke them into resuming their protest at Holy Cross School.

Community worker Mark Coulter, who attended a meeting of the Glenbryn residents committee and political representatives on Thursday, called on police to step up security.

"People are very, very clear that they are not going to be used as political pawns by anyone," he said.

David Trimble:
David Trimble: "Depressing scenes"
The chairman of the board of governors at Holy Cross, Father Aidan Troy, said the decision to re-open the school on Friday had been taken on Thursday night in the "interests of staff and pupils".

"The board has come to the conclusion, hopefully rightly, that the sooner we get the children back into a settled situation the better," he said.

"It could even have a calming effect on the whole situation here."

He said it was up to parents to decide if they wanted to send their children to school.

Assistant chief constable Alan McQuillan said the street trouble on Wednesday started after a confrontation between two women outside the school.

In the hours of rioting which followed, more than 136 petrol bombs, acid bombs and bricks were thrown as pitched battles took place between hundreds of youths and the police.

Police fired eight baton rounds during the violence and three people were arrested. One man appeared in court on Thursday.

Back to the story
The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"Youths line up for another night of rioting"

NI riots
Are children being used as political pawns?
See also:

10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
School talks follow riots
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Cars attacked at Catholic school
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Footpath row 'led to riots'
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
North Belfast's streets of hatred
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Q&A: Violence in north Belfast
09 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Rioting follows NI school dispute
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Head to Head: Riots in Ardoyne Road
03 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Ardoyne Stories: Peace lines and division
07 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Counting the cost against the children
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