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NI police officers lift car off teen girl after car reverses over her during riots

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
The moment police officers lifted the car from atop the teenage girl
The moment police officers lifted the car from atop the teenage girl

Amid the sectarian and mob violence which flared up in the North yesterday there was a moment of solidarity which possibly saved a young girl from serious injury.

Loyalist rioters who attacked and injured police officers during the riots came prepared for violence, authorities said. 

The Police Federation said disturbances that left eight officers injured, including one who needed 12 stitches for a bite wound, were "mindless, deplorable and shameful".

Officers were pelted with bricks, bottles, metal ladders, bolts and masonry when a parade returning from traditional Twelfth of July Orange commemorations was prevented from marching from the unionist Woodvale area toward the adjacent nationalist Ardoyne.

As loyalists attacked police on the unionist side of the police line, on the nationalist side a 16-year-old girl standing in a crowd was injured when she was apparently struck by a car.

Chaotic scenes ensued as police lifted the vehicle off the girl. The driver has been arrested and police have said the girl's injuries are not life threatening.

Incredible images of the incident show heavily-armed police officers lifting the vehicle from atop the girl as simmering tensions and outbreaks of violence surrounded them. 

Riot squad officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) bore the brunt of loyalist anger when they blocked access to the contested stretch of the Crumlin Road.

Within minutes of the parade reaching the police lines last night, empty bottles, bricks and metal bolts rained down on police.

At one point a number of loyalists broke through police barricades and started dancing on the bonnets of PSNI armoured Land Rovers.

Loyalist bandsmen played the sectarian Famine Song, which is played to the same tune as the Beach Boys' Sloop John B, but with anti-Catholic lyrics. They also played well-known loyalist tune The Sash.