‘LEAVING TOWN AND WE WON’T BE BACK’

Rioters took to the streets of Ballyclare over the weekend after a dispute with police over the removal of flags
Rioters took to the streets of Ballyclare over the weekend after a dispute with police over the removal of flags
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THE explosion of loyalist violence in Ballyclare over the weekend has led to some residents leaving the town, vowing never to return.

On Saturday, (July 9) a crowd of over 100 residents blocked a part of the town after police removed twelve flags flying in the Grange Drive and Doagh Road areas, close to the Catholic Sacred Heart church in the town.

At around 11.30pm that night trouble flared, with rioters taking to the streets, hijacking and torching cars and throwing stones and petrol bombs.

Two buses were hijacked and one used to ram a PSNI vehicle injuring five officers. Another officer was also injured in a stone attack.

Police deployed a water cannon and baton rounds were used to try and disperse the crowds. Violence also erupted in Ballyduff the same night.

On Sunday morning a large scale clean-up operation got underway to remove the burnt out vehicles and huge amount of debris on the streets. Following the mayhem, the flags that were removed around the town were replaced.

Police later apologised for their handling of the removal of the flags but vowed to tackle those who had carried out the violence.

Read the full story in this week’s TIMES...