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chaos on streets Youths clash with police in second night of trouble in west Belfast

A large group of rioters were blasted with a water cannon by police after taking to the streets in west Belfast last night.

There were reports of bricks and bottles being thrown and further attacks on police by hundreds who have gathered in the Springfield Road area of the city.

Protesters were also been throwing fireworks at police landrovers.

It’s understood there were adults on the ground appealing for no more violence after ugly scenes of violence in Belfast.

PSNI officers in riot gear and police dogs moved into the area in an attempt to disperse those involved.

A video posted on social media last night showed police water cannons arriving in the area.

Those involved in the violence had been warned by police to "disperse immediately or the water cannon will be used".

However, they continued to fire missiles at police and after several warnings, the water cannon was deployed.

Some of those present jeered before fleeing as the water jet came closer.

Loyalists have also been gathering at Lanark Way with reports that bricks have been thrown at police.

Justice Minister Naomi Long described the scenes as "utterly reckless and depressing".

Ms Long posted on Twitter: "More attacks on police, this time from nationalist youths. Utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas tonight. My heart goes out to those living in the area who are living with this fear and disturbance. This needs to stop now before lives are lost."

The Green Party has called for a special meeting of Belfast City Council to be held "to discuss the serious violence which has occurred in our city over recent days".

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Meanwhile local football club St James' Swifts has urged young people from all communities to come and train and not riot while also praising at similar initiative at Sandy Row club.

A club committee spokesperson said: "Everyone at St James Swift’s has been saddened to see the events that have unfolded the past few nights across Belfast.

"As many people may know, we originally started out as a Friday night 6aside team to help young men in the area stay away from anti-social behaviour, we know too well the impact that this can have on communities.

"This is an urgent appeal directly to the young people of St James, West Belfast and surrounding areas to please stay away from these interfaces and steer clear of trouble.

"Just next week we are able to open our doors again for training. This is also an open invitation anyone at all, from any background, to come along to our training and get involved in something productive.

"St James Swift’s are a cross community club and some of the best times we have had over the years has been through the friendships we have forged through football. Teams from all walks of life and backgrounds.

"Right now all this negativity may seem exciting, you may even be angry, but there are much better ways to address these situations and violence certainly isn’t one of them.

"We have been encouraged to make this statement after seeing our friends at Sandy Row Football Club show great leadership in asking people to also stay away from these interfaces. We echo their sentiments and urge people to stay away.

"As two neighbouring teams on an interface and from different backgrounds, we are both willing to work together to give our youth a better opportunity through sport."

In violent scenes, which took place in the same area last night, a Metro bus was hijacked and set on fire, petrol bombs, masonry and fireworks were thrown at police officers and a peace wall gate was set alight.

Belfast Telegraph photographer Kevin Scott was also attacked.

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