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Loyalist violence escalates in Northern Ireland as rioters cause mayhem in Newtonabbey

The intense rioting in Newtonabbey has been described as "orchestrated" by the PSNI

For a second night in a row loyalist gangs have rioted in Belfast as political tensions in the British-controlled territory continue to soar.

According to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), thirty petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set alight during short but intense rioting in Newtonabbey, on the northern outskirts of Belfast.

Dozens of mostly young men were involved in the rioting which lasted around three hours.

The rioting in Newtonabbey on Saturday evening (April 03) comes on the heels of similar violence in Sandy Row (South Belfast) on Friday.

Additionally, there have been five consecutive nights of violence in the Tullyally area of Derry.

All of the violence is directly attributable to loyalist gangs who are incensed at the political direction of travel in Northern Ireland, especially in relation to post-Brexit tensions and the sustained momentum of the Irish Unity movement.

On last night’s rioting in Newtonabbey, Chief superintendent Beck of the PSNI described it as an “orchestrated attack on the police”.

"Their [rioters’] actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they are representing", Beck said in reference to the loyalist community.

"No one wants to be dragged back to the dark days when rioting was a common occurrence on the streets of Northern Ireland", Beck added ominously.

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