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Police in Northern Ireland have called the rioting seen on the streets of Belfast this week the worst seen in the region in years.
Police in addition to rioters were injured by petrol bombs in scenes reminiscent of the The Troubles in the 70s and 80s.
Since the end of March, more than 50 officers and an undocumented number of rioters have been injured.
The worst of the violence tool place in predominantly Catholic west Belfast, although disturbances have also been reported in Protestant Newtownabbey, and the Catholic areas of south Belfast and Londonderry.
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Police sources speaking to the BBC have, however, said there is no evidence that loyalist UVF – Ulster Volunteer Force – members were behind the riots although this had been suggested by the region’s beat police.
The earlier riots in Newtownabbey, south Belfast and Londonderry have now been linked to elements of the Ulster Defence Association – a loyalist group created in the early 1970s to counter Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorism in the region.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson upon hearing of the unrest condemned the actions of rioters.

“Last night was at a scale we haven’t seen in Belfast or further afield in Northern Ireland for a number of years,” according to Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts of the local police force of Northern Ireland, who added “We are very, very lucky no-one was seriously injured or killed last night given in particular the large number of petrol bombs thrown.”

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The driver of one bus – an iconic British double-decker – whose vehicle was destroyed by rioters was described as “very shaken by the incident but is physically unhurt” and police were careful not to incite further unrest by declaring equal numbers of the Catholic and Protestant residents of the area involved, saying “equally large numbers on both sides” participated in the unrest.

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