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VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland - More shots were fired last night as trouble ignited in Northern Ireland again. Bricks and bottles were thrown between nationalists and unionists in east Belfast as a heavy security presence tried to quell serious unrest.
Several hundred people had gathered around the Newtownards Road area and surged towards Short Strand - a Catholic enclave in the Protestant-dominated east part of the city.
  • Police confirmed that three shots were fired, one of which struck a press photographer in the leg. A 20-year-old woman has been arrested on a weapon charge after the most serious rioting seen in the city for years.
  • The disturbances follow Monday's riot, supposedly orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries, who it is thought fired upon police. A police spokeswoman advised motorists to avoid the area and said crowds had gathered.
  • Masked youths were pelting each other with stones and fireworks, and bricks and petrol bombs were thrown at police lines. Police said around 700 people had gathered in the area and officers discharged several baton rounds.
  • Dublin-based Press Association photographer, Niall Carson, 33, was shot in the leg and was taken to hospital for treatment. Mr Carson, a former Press Photographer of the Year, was hit when a gunman jumped onto a wall and started firing.
  • A spokeswoman for the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast said: 'He is stable in Accident and Emergency.'
  • A police spokeswoman said there were reports that two people had sustained burn injuries.
  • She said: 'Police are dealing with serious disorder in the Lower Newtownards Road area of East Belfast tonight.'
  • A spokesman added: 'A 20-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and assault on police.
Last year, in west Belfast, the UVF carried out the killing of a critic, who was shot in front of shoppers on a busy road. With the organisation said to be going through one of its periodic internal power struggles, one theory is that its east Belfast boss is attempting to exert his authority by taking on both Short Strand and the police.
Source: Agency, More on metro.co.uk
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