Police say Cloughfern riot was ‘orchestrated attack’

Thirty petrol bombs were thrown at police during disturbances in Newtownabbey last night (Saturday), while three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 12:49 pm

The scene around the Cloughfern roundabout this morning was one of devastation, with the remains of the burned-out vehicles still on the street.

Police have described the unrest as “a orchestrasted attack”.

North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said: “Last night again saw people taking to the streets of Northern Ireland to riot.

Cars damaged from the disorder were still on the road on Sunday morning. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

“From approximately 7.30pm to 10.30pm, a crowd of approximately 20-30 people, consisting of young people and older men some of whom were wearing masks gathered in the O’Neill Road/Cloughfern area of Newtownabbey.

“In total 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire.

“One man aged 47 was arrested and he currently remains in police custody.

“Throughout the evening local councillors worked very closely with police in an effort to diffuse the situation.

The scene at the Cloughfern roundabout on Sunday morning. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

Chief Superintendent Beck continued: “This was an orchestrated attack on police who were carrying out their duties to help protect the people of Newtownabbey. “My officers put on their uniform every day and go out into the community they serve, not knowing what lies ahead of them. However this does not deter them from turning up every day to do their duty.

“No-one, no matter what line of work they are in deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence. The officers who serve the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families who wait every day on their loved ones coming home, hoping they have not been injured, or worse.”

The police chief appealed for anyone considering taking part in similar incidents to stop immediately.

“We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with a global pandemic, no-one needs the added pressure of disorder in their community.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs in Newtownabbey on Saturday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

“Everyone deserves to live in peace, free from violence. I would appeal to those who are taking to the streets to stop immediately, their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they claim they are representing. The people of Northern Ireland deserve better.

“No-one wants to be dragged back to the dark days when rioting was a common occurrence on the streets of Northern Ireland.

“We will continue to work with our partner agencies, community and elected representatives and the people of Newtownabbey to ensure we can all live in a peaceful society.”

Anyone with any information about last night’s rioting is asked to call police on the non-emergency number 101, or submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/