26 PSNI officers have been injured after they came under a prolonged and sustained attack from youths who were throwing petrol bombs, rocks and other missiles in Distillery Street, Northern Ireland.
The trouble started yesterday afternoon (8th August) when a landowner called the police and asked them to ‘remove bonfire material’ that had been set up by the youths.
However, as the police answered the landowners call for help, they started to come under what has been described as a ‘pre-planned’ attack and at least 26 police officers were injured.
The Chair of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, Mark Lindsay, said that officers were ‘sick’ of being a punchbag for the failures of society to resolve its issues.
Mr Lindsay said:
‘Once again, police officers have been drawn into the middles of a row over what should and what shouldn’t take place. They are sick of being a punchbag for a society that has failed to tackle contentious issues.
‘The attacks were pre-meditated. Petrol bombs and chunks of masonry didn’t materialise out of thin air. These confrontations were planned. Those behind this reckless and irresponsible action had a very clear aim of making officers bear the brunt of their hate.
‘What happened posed a real risk to the lives of officers. Petrol bombing is a clear attempt to murder or maim officers who were there to uphold the law.
‘My thoughts are with the injured officers and their colleagues who once again demonstrated great professionalism and courage on confronting mindless riorters who achiebe nothing but misery and distress for the residents in affected areas’.
Superintendent Melanie Jones said,
“During the operation, officers came under sustained attack from large groups of youths throwing petrol bombs, masonry and other missiles towards police. At this point, we can confirm that at least 26 officers have sustained injuries and are currently receiving treatment.
“Footage from evidence gathering cameras will be reviewed, and all efforts will be made to identify those involved in the completely unacceptable violence we have seen here today.
“We will continue to work with the local community, representatives and other partners to address this issue, but it is disappointing that some young people and their guardians are not listening to our repeated warnings.
“People who choose to engage in criminal and anti-social behaviour must understand it is unacceptable and must stop. People have a right to live in peace and to feel safe in their communities.
“Parents and guardians have an important obligation to keep young people safe by knowing where they are going and who they are with. Young people must understand the dangers of getting involved in behaviour which could result in them injuring themselves or others, or ultimately, ending up with a criminal record.
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