Belfast flashpoint quiet after day of talks

A flashpoint area of east Belfast is calm after a day of negotiations aimed at preventing a third night of trouble.Loyalist and nationalist sources have told the BBC talks have reached an agreement to prevent any trouble on Wednesday night.There was a large police presence in the area during the day, but this was withdrawn at 2045 BST as community marshals appeared.There are large crowds in the area, but it is quiet.A 22-year-old man from west Belfast was arrested on Wednesday night in connection with the trouble in east Belfast. He is being questioned at Antrim police station.In the latest violence near a sectarian flashpoint on the lower Newtownards Road a photographer was shot. Dissident republicans were blamed for this.Police have said other trouble was orchestrated by the loyalist UVF.Northern Ireland’s leaders have appointed a senior government official to work with the communities in east Belfast where there has been trouble.First Minister Peter Robinson and DFM Martin McGuinness said they want to identify “areas of concern”.”We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work,” they said.”The official has been asked to bring back a report promptly and make recommendations as to how problems in the area can be addressed.”By working with local communities and agencies we want to ensure that interface issues are tackled across Belfast.”Police have told the BBC that detectives believed dissidents were responsible after a Press Association photographer suffered a gun shot wound to his leg on Tuesday.Frist Minister Peter Robinson has offered to try and resolve the situation telling the BBC that if people felt they need to have issues addressed: “I will meet them”.He said people were horrified at what had happened and recognised the “reputational damage” it was doing to the economy.

The trouble erupted again at 2045 BST on Tuesday.A barrage of petrol bombs, missiles and fireworks were thrown at police lines for a second night, in what is being reported as the worst trouble in the area for a decade.Two other men were injured. They are believed to have suffered burn injuries.Police fired 66 plastic bullets during the disturbances.A 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting police.Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said they believed the east Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) were involved. “Whether they have lost the influence to stop it, I don’t know, but there certainly seems to be nothing to suggest that our position has changed, that the bulk of this violence is coming from the loyalist community and the UVF in east Belfast does have a role to play in that,” he said.

Just before midnight, a number of shots were fired and the photographer was injured.Another photographer was standing with other media, near police landrovers on the Lower Newtownards Road when the shooting happened.”I looked back and there was somebody peering over the wall and he shot about five or six rounds,” he said.”We were all just running.”The next thing I know a colleague of mine, he yells, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot’, and I looked back and his leg on the bottom part, I don’t know if he was grazed, or if the bullet went in or what, but I looked at his trousers and his trousers were all stained.”It was wet, it was obviously blood. – BBC