Bus Torched, Police Attacked as Riot Breaks Out in West Belfast

Rioters in west Belfast’s Shankill Road area attacked a double-decker bus with petrol bombs on Wednesday, April 7, setting it ablaze.

This video shows thick smoke and flames rising as the bus burned at the junction of Shankill Road and Lanark Way.

The disorder broke out when crowds gathered at the junction, police said, prompting the closure of “interface gates” that separate the unionist-dominated Shankill area from the nationalist Falls Road area.

Police who responded to the scene with armored vehicles also came under attack, video shows.

The riot follows days of violent protests in towns and cities across Northern Ireland that left numerous police officers injured, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

A photographer for the Belfast Telegraph, Kevin Scott, was covering the demonstration when he says he was attacked from behind by two males who damaged his camera equipment.

First Minister and Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Arlene Foster responded to Scott on Twitter, describing the attack on him as “disgraceful.” In another tweet, Foster condemned the attack on the bus as “vandalism and attempted murder” and said the rioters did “not represent unionism or loyalism.”

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly also described the violence as “disgraceful,” and said the riots had “clearly been planned in advance and orchestrated by loyalist criminal gangs,” the Belfast Telegraph reported.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted about the incident on Wednesday evening, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist. The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality.” Credit: Patrick Graham via Storyful