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Alliance representatives say no justification for East Belfast violence

January 4, 2013 11:40 AM

Alliance East Belfast representatives have condemned those behind the violent outbreaks in the Albertbridge Road, Castlereagh Street and Mountpottinger Street areas last night, which left 10 police officers injured.

Naomi Long MP, Chris Lyttle MLA and Judith Cochrane MLA appealed for calm in the area and urged anyone with information following the violence overnight to contact the PSNI.

Naomi Long MP said: "There is no justification for the lawlessness last night and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. We have repeatedly seen these protests overrun by those seemingly intent on causing mayhem.

"Violence and intimidation is never the answer, and the people being affected the most are those who live and work in the local community, and the police, who are increasingly the target of attacks.

"This has moved on from a debate about a flag and now all political parties must join with Alliance to show unity in the face of this continuing assault on the rule of law.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: "The disturbing scenes we witnessed in East Belfast last night cannot be allowed to continue. Those behind the violence and disorder must understand the devastating effect they are having on all living in those communities.

"It is appalling that 10 police officers were injured as they tried to perform their duty and keep the community at large safe. My thoughts are with them and their families at this time and I hope they make a speedy recovery.

"I understand there are underlying concerns, but these must be addressed through the correct means, with all politicians showing a united front towards building a shared society for Northern Ireland."

Judith Cochrane MLA said: "The disorder witnessed last night was a disgrace and must come to an end before lasting damage is caused. At a time when we are trying to attract investment into Northern Ireland, we cannot afford for these scenes to be played out on the world stage.

"We need to move forward as a united community and I would urge those behind this violence to stop inflicting fear, uncertainty and damage onto their communities.

"The PSNI have the support of the vast majority of the community who are committed to finding lasting peace. I would appeal for anyone with information on the violent disorder to contact police immediately to help them with their investigation."

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