Eight people including boys, 13 and 14, arrested after Belfast riot

15 police officers were injured on Friday evening. Credit: Pacemaker

Eight people, including two boys aged 13 and 14, have been arrested following rioting in a loyalist area of Belfast.

15 police officers were injured on Friday evening after being targeted in Sandy Row by a crowd of mostly young people throwing bottles, bricks and fireworks.

A number of political leader have appealed for calm following the violence.Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis described the unrest as “completely unacceptable”.

While the First Minister Arlene Foster has also appealed to young people not to get "drawn into disorder" over the Easter weekend.

The DUP leader said: "I know that many of our young people are hugely frustrated by the events of this last week but causing injury to police officers will not make things better."

Adding to that, Mr Lewis said: “Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in society.

“It is unwanted, unwarranted and I fully support the PSNI appeal for calm.”

He added that his thoughts were with the eight officers injured.

The trouble came after four successive nights of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of Londonderry.

The disorder has flared amid ongoing tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.

Brandon Lewis described the unrest as completely unacceptable. Credit: PA Images

Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Tensions ramped up further this week following a controversial decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.