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Irish nationalist youths throw petrol bombs at police in Belfast

Rioters react as the police uses a water cannon on the Springfield Road as protests continue in Belfast, Northern Ireland April 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

BELFAST (Reuters) - A crowd of young people attacked police with petrol bombs and stones in an Irish nationalist area of Belfast on Thursday before dispersing, a Reuters photographer said.

The attack in the Springfield Road area followed a night of rioting by nationalists and pro-British loyalists nearby in the Northern Ireland city on Wednesday that was condemned by the British and Irish governments and local political leaders.

On Thursday around 100 youths walked to a line of armoured police vehicles and a few dozen began to throw stones, the photographer said. The crowd dispersed after riot police advanced.

Representatives of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein tried to move young people away from a so-called “peace wall” that separates Springfield Road from the neighbouring Shankill Road area that was the focus of violence on Thursday.

A Sky News reporter posted footage on Twitter of police using a water cannon against the protesters.

Reporting by Jason Cairnduff; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis