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  1. ITV Report

Disorder in parts of Belfast and Londonderry on Eleventh night

Police say 13 vehicles were burnt out in Belfast and Newtownards in disorder and disruption overnight. Credit: UTV

The PSNI has condemned sporadic disorder which occurred in areas of Belfast, Newtownards and Londonderry.

A number of vehicles were hijacked and torched amid heightened tensions on the Eleventh night.

Police also attended security alerts overnight in Belfast.

Trouble flared for a fifth consecutive night in Londonderry with the Lecky Road fly-over in the Bogside blocked by fire.

Meanwhile, masked men used burning cars to block roads close to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald on the outskirts of Belfast, while a bus with passengers on board was hijacked before being set alight in nearby Newtownards.

Police received reports that a number of masked men, one carrying a suspected firearm, had hijacked the bus at around half-past-seven. Credit: Pacemaker

None of the passengers were injured in the incident which took place around 7.30pm on Wednesday

The bus was hijacked in Blenheim Drive and later set on fire.

Police also attended the scene of nearby Messines Road which was blocked by burning tyres.

On the Upper Newtownards Road in Dundonald a number of masked males pushed a car into the road and set it on fire close to Robbs Road at around 9.45pm.

A further report was received that two cars were set on fire close to the nearby Carrowreagh Road.

A number of vehicles were hijacked and torched in parts of Belfast. Credit: UTV

There were a number of other security alerts in the east of the city through the night.

One forced the closure of the Sydenham by pass dual carriageway, meaning passengers were unable to exit the adjacent Belfast City Airport for a period.

Motorists along the Sydenham ByPass were held up as officers dealt with a security alert in the area. It has now ended. Credit: UTV

A number of homes had to be evacuated for a time in the Newtownards Road area.

Army bomb experts had to examine a due to a suspect car.

It is believed the vehicle was hijacked earlier this evening in north Belfast.

Police say the road has now reopened and residents have returned to their homes.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a suspicious object on the Ravenhill Avenue. The alert was declared to be a hoax.

Wednesday's incidents unfolded amid a police warning that loyalist paramilitaries were planning to "orchestrate and participate in serious disorder" in east Belfast.

The violence came after loyalists expressed anger at moves to limit the size of bonfires at two controversial sites in the east of the city.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “The general levels of calls for assistance last night were similar to what we have seen in recent years however we did deal with disorder and disruption which seen 13 vehicles burnt out in Belfast and Newtownards and petrol bombs thrown at my officers in Derry/Londonderry. There were also a number of security alerts.

“No part of this is acceptable and today we are looking at the evidential picture to pursue lines of enquiry.

“I would like to pay tribute to the job that my officers, along with other emergency services, did last night.

“The disorder we have seen has been caused by a small minority of people who have no regard for their communities. No one wants to see disruption and disorder and the people behind these incidents need to ask themselves just what they are achieving."

– Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd

ACC Todd continued: “I sincerely hope that today passes off peacefully and that the thousands of people who are attending community events and parades can do so enjoyably and safely.

“I would ask all of those with influence to work with us to ensure the safety of all.

“Our priority remains, keeping people safe and I want to reassure people this morning that our response, should there be an further disorder, will continue to be proportionate with the necessary resources in place to detect and deter those responsible."