Fresh trouble in west Belfast with other peaceful protests in Co Down

Disorder was seen on Lanark Way, the site of violence on April 7 and April 8. Credit: Pacemaker

There was an episode of fresh trouble in west Belfast on Monday evening.

Furniture was set on fire in the middle of the Shankill Road close to where a bus was set alight earlier this month.

Police attended to monitor crowds gathered across Lanark Way and the Shankill Road on the loyalist side of the nearby peace line.

Officers came under sporadic attack.

Furniture was set alight during the disorder. Credit: UTV

Calm had been restored to the scene by around 9pm however some crowds remained in the area.

Meanwhile, peaceful loyalist protests took in other locations, including in Newtownards, Co Down.

Loyalists staged a parade holding an anti-Northern Ireland Protocol banner, and walked from the West Winds area to Newtownards police station.

The prominent Loyalist Jamie Bryson spoke at the demonstration.

Earlier the Loyalist Communities Council held a small demonstration outside Irish government offices in Belfast.

Loyalists have vowed to resume protest action against post-Brexit trading arrangements that have created new barriers and bureaucracy on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

They claim the Northern Ireland Protocol has undermined the region's place within the Union.

It comes after a break of around a week, following a succession of days where violence broke out following a number of loyalist protests across Northern Ireland.

The worst of the trouble came on both sides of the peace wall gates at Lanark Way on Wednesday April 7 and Thursday April 8 where police used plastic bullets and water cannon against the crowds.

Protests were temporarily paused following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Loyalist anger at the protocol has been cited as one of the main factors behind the violence that erupted earlier this month.

Another was the decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein members for Covid-19 breaches after they attended a mass republican funeral during the pandemic.

The violence was unanimously condemned across the Stormont Assembly after it was recalled from Easter recess for a special meeting on April 8.

It was also condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish premier Micheal Martin, as well as church leaders.

Labour shadow secretary of state Louise Haigh has called for fresh talks to be called to resolve the issues.