A senior Belfast police officer is calling for calm after eight police officers have been injured during rioting in Sandy Row, south Belfast tonight (2 April).

Belfast District Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “Police have been in attendance in Sandy Row since around 8pm this evening when a small local protest quickly developed into an attack on police.

“Eight officers have so far been injured after being subjected to a sustained attack by rioters who have thrown a number of objects at police, including heavy masonry, metal rods, fireworks and manhole covers. Their injuries include burns, head and leg injuries. Seven people have been arrested at the scene.

“I am appealing to all those involved to stop this appalling behaviour immediately. Police are trying to protect those living in the Shaftesbury Square, Donegall Road and Sandy Row areas and it is completely unacceptable that my officers are coming under sustained attack.

“I would encourage anyone who has influence to use it now and stop the rioting before anyone else is injured, or worse.

“Local communities do not want to be dragged back to the past. They deserve to live in safe and peaceful areas, free from rioting, violence and wanton destruction of their communities.”

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