A 47-year-old man has been charged with throwing a petrol bomb after unrest erupted in Newtownabbey on Saturday, the second night in a row of trouble in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) said 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire during riots in the loyal ONeill Road and Doagh Road area.
Police said Saturday night they were responding to reports of disorder at the Cloughfern roundabout. The force said a crowd of about 20-30 people, made up of young people and elderly men, gathered between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.
The 47-year-old man will appear in magistrate court in Belfast on April 26 accused of rioting and throwing a petrol bomb.
Police called for calm in the area and urged anyone with influence in the community to try to ensure that young people would not be caught by crime. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland called for an end to the violence, saying people destroying their communities was not the way to protest or vent.
Northern Zone Commander Ch Supt Davy Beck said: This was an orchestrated attack on the police who were carrying out their duties to help protect the people of Newtownabbey Nobody, no matter what line of work they deserve to be subjected to any type of violence.
The officers serving in the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families waiting every day for their loved ones to come home, hoping they are not injured, or worse.
On Friday evening eight people were arrested and 27 police officers were injured during riots in Belfast and Londonderry. Fifteen officers were injured in Belfast and 12 in Derry after being targeted by youths.
Two boys aged 13 and 14 were among eight people arrested in connection with the riots in a loyal Belfast area. Police said Saturday night that seven people, including three teenage boys, had been charged with rioting around the Sandy Line riots.
Four adults three men aged 25, 21 and 18 and a woman aged 19 will appear in Belfast Magistrates’ Court on 30 April. Three teenagers aged 17, 14 and 13 will appear in Belfast Juvenile Court on the same date.
The first minister, Arlene Foster, urged young people not to back down from the disorder, saying violence would not make things better. The leader of the Democratic Unionist party said: I know many of our young people are extremely irritated by the events of this past week, but causing harm to police officers will not improve things.
She added: I send my strong support to all the senior police officers on duty during this Easter weekend. I urge our young people not to be distracted by the disorders that will lead them to have criminal convictions and pollute their lives. I also urge parents to play their part and be proactive in protecting their young adults.
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