PSNI leave scene of planned bonfire in Belfast after officers injured, 13-year-old arrested 2 years ago

PSNI leave scene of planned bonfire in Belfast after officers injured, 13-year-old arrested

The PSNI have decided to leave the scene.

Simon Byrne, Chief Constable at the Police Service of Northern Ireland, has condemned an incident in which police officers were injured in North Belfast.

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"There is no justification for such a cowardly attack and it shows again the dangers our frontline officers face everyday. Wishing our injured colleague a speedy recovery and a swift arrest for his attacker," he wrote on Twitter, after a video of one incident went viral.

The video appeared to show a police officer falling to the ground after being struck in the head by an object.

The incident occurred during a stand-off over planned bonfires in the Queens Parade in the New Lodge area. The bonfire is planned to mark the introduction of internment in 1971, in which many people in the north of Ireland were incarcerated without trial.

The PSNI had arrived at the scene with the intention of removing the bonfire, but have since left the scene.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd has said forces decided to leave the scene after deciding that there was a significant risk to public safety and innocent bystanders.

"During the operation a large crowd gathered and police officers were attacked, resulting in three police officers being injured.

"Having met with partner agencies and the contractor this afternoon, we reviewed the ongoing situation. With a large number of women, children and young people in the area, we decided to that we can no longer sustain a policing operation due to the significant risk to public safety and in particular, to innocent bystanders.

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"It is our assessment that the majority of local residents do not want this bonfire.  I apologise for the inconvenience today’s operation has caused and for not being able to deliver our objective of supporting the removal of the bonfire. I hope that the local community understands my primary concern today was public safety.

"Six petrol bombs have been recovered and a 13 year old youth has been arrested on suspicion of riotous and disorderly behaviour."

Police had been present at the scene since 5am this morning.