The Community Relations Council condemns the violence that took place last night in the Short Strand area of East Belfast during which hundreds of people engaged in hand to hand fighting, people and property were attacked and guns were fired.
Duncan Morrow, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council (CRC), said
“Last night’s events in the Short Strand were shocking and reminiscent of some of the worst times of the Troubles. Much work by community workers and other organisations in recent years has gone into creating a more peaceful environment and better relationships in the area. Violence on this scale has not occurred there for many years and it is to be hoped that it has no implicit or explicit support in the community. CRC will actively work to ensure that conflicts can and should be resolved peacefully. “
CRC Chair, Tony McCusker, added:
“It is an appalling situation. There can be no excuse for threats and intimidation by organised gangs or for the use of petrol bombs and guns. The experience of the last forty years has surely taught us that. “
The Community Relations Council highlighted the fact that children have been put at risk both as active participants in the rioting and as targets and victims.
Duncan Morrow said “This violence is criminal and cannot be justified. It has put children and vulnerable adults at direct risk and demands an urgent response from all concerned.”