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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Ceasefires to be reviewed after riots
Police and soldiers patrol the Short Strand area
Security remains high in the area
The status of paramilitary ceasefires is to be reviewed following another night of violence in east Belfast.

Four people, including one policeman, were shot as gunmen opened fire during rioting in the Short Strand area on Monday.

At one point, the police were shot at and returned fire hitting a gunman, who was dragged away and has not yet been admitted to hospital.

A high security force presence will be maintained in the area again on Tuesday and additional resources are also to be deployed.


The use of handguns or weapons of any sort in these situations is a very dangerous development

Jane Kennedy Security minister

The security minister, Jane Kennedy, said that the loyalist and republican ceasefires were being constantly monitored.

"Although the assessment of the ceasefire remains unchanged this is a worrying development," she said.

"The use of handguns or weapons of any sort in these situations is a very dangerous development."

Assistant chief constable for Belfast Alan McQuillan blamed mainstream loyalist and republican paramilitaries for orchestrating the violence.

Bus attacked

"On the loyalist side, we see clear evidence that the UDA and the UVF have been involved in this.

"Certainly in terms of the street disorder on the republican side we have seen large numbers of members of the IRA, many of them from outside the area, in the area.

"We believe that they are involved in organising the violence."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the violence in the area must stop.

Alan McQuillan: Assistant chief constable for Belfast
Alan McQuillan: Blamed paramilitaries for organising the violence

Mr Adams spoke with the Secretary of State, John Reid, and is expected to talk to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern about the situation on Tuesday evening.

He has also asked for a meeting with David Ervine of the PUP, who, it is understood, has agreed to see him.

The West Belfast MP said that while nationalists in Short Strand have suffered, there were victims on the other side of the sectarian interface.

Nineteen police officers were injured in the violence, including one officer who was shot in the lower leg.

The latest trouble centred on the Lower Newtownards Road, where loyalists clashed with republicans living in the adjacent Short Strand.

Two Protestants were wounded by a republican gunman while a bus driver was injured by flying glass after his vehicle came under gun attack from loyalists in the area.

A total of 13 shots were fired at security forces. Two people were arrested for public order offences.

Police discharged 61 baton rounds in an attempt to disperse rioters hurling petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at police and army lines.

Temporary accommodation

Meanwhile, the Housing Executive has said that 34 properties in the area have been damaged in the disturbances.

There are seven families in temporary accommodation and seeking re-housing as a direct result of the violence of the last few nights

The Alliance party has said it has to accept a security assessment which said the IRA and UVF ceasefires were in tact.

Party leader David Ford was speaking after a meeting with the security minister Jane Kennedy on Tuesday.

Last week the Alliance Party took the decision to back Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey to become the new Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Mr Ford said they currently had no plans to change that decision.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Denis Murray
"The gunmen from both sides are back on the streets"
Northern Ireland policing minister Jane Kennedy
"There is a determination on the part of a small minority... to introduce gunfire and weapons"
Acting NI chief constable Colin Cramphorn
"There has been considerable police and military resources deployed"
See also:

04 Jun 02 | N Ireland
02 Jun 02 | N Ireland
17 Jul 01 | N Ireland
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