Loyalists' riots reach Belfast

Scores of masked loyalists were involved in riots in west Belfast from early on Wednesday evening.

Scores of masked loyalists engaged in orchestrated mayhem in west Belfast from early on Wednesday evening. A bus was patrol-bombed at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road before a sealed 'peace line' with the nationalist Springfield Road, a gated steel barricade, was set on fire and broken through.

With the homes of nationalists threatened and the PSNI failing to intervene, only the courageous restraint of the republican community of the area prevented the situation escalating into a more serious conflagration.

A tense stand-off involving missile throwing and petrol bombs continued for more than two hours before the PSNI intervened to separate the two sides.

The attacks and rioting were orchestrated the west Belfast UDA, who earlier hijacked a bus and set it on fire in frightening scenes on the loyalist Shankill Road, although both passengers and the bus driver escaped injury.