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Police Injured In Northern Ireland Riots

Widespread rioting has broken out in Northern Ireland, with a bus hijacked and petrol bombs thrown at police.

Several officers were injured after the bus was smashed into a police car during a bout of "serious public disorder" in Ballyclare, County Antrim.

Around 100 people began throwing missiles and petrol bombs at police in the Doagh Road area and on the Grange Estate at around 11.30 on Saturday night, police said.

Riot officers returned fire with baton rounds and deployed a water as they attempted restore order in what is thought to be a riot by loyalists.

A 27-year-old man has been arrested for riotous behaviour in the Co Londonderry town of Magherafelt and homes were attacked by sectarian bigots.

Several vehicles were also hijacked in the nearby areas of Carrickfergus and
Newtownabbey overnight. Calm was restored on Sunday morning.

Loyalists in Co Antrim have been protesting after accusing police of removing flags.

This is the traditional marching season for the Orange Order and many Protestant districts are flying flags and bunting.

Nationalist SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt said there had been a significant escalation in the flying of paramilitary flags across Northern Ireland this summer.

"This has caused considerable distress in communities on both sides of the divide," he said.

"The police cannot fix the problem of flags long-term, but it must be fixed politically and with real leadership from the top.

"It is with deep regret that for the past five years Sinn Fein and the DUP have failed to progress the establishment of a meaningful flags protocol, which would control the flying of flags, particularly in contentious situations."

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "While it is believed people were struck we have no reports of any injuries at this stage."