Belfast riots: Your comments

Damage caused during attack on train Damage caused during attack on train. Photo: James Grant, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, has described the violence of the past three nights in north Belfast as a "setback against the huge progress made in recent times."

Petrol bombs and a pipe bomb were also thrown by nationalist rioters in the Ardoyne area, while around 100 officers used water cannon and baton rounds.

BBC News website readers have been sending in their emails about the riots.

My two adult daughters and I were passengers on board the 1610 train from Belfast to Dublin on Monday. Just south of Belfast, the train was stopped by people blocking the tracks. We didn't know this initially, but started to wonder what was happening as we saw a small crowd of people gathering on either side of the tracks and looking toward the front of the train. Two men passed through our car with grease-stained hands and arms (and some said with blood on their hands, but I didn't see that). One was talking on a phone, saying that the train had been hijacked. By this time, the train had begun moving again. As we passed the crossing where people were gathered, we saw young men wearing masks over their faces. What we did not see at any time was any sign of a police presence. Shortly after the train resumed moving, a conductor passed through our car and told me that protesters had thrown bricks and petrol bombs at the engine, that the two men that passed through our car were members of the community who had jumped into the fray to disarm the situation, that the train was under the control of the railway, and that we were safe. At the next station, when we left the train, we passed the engine. Half of the front windshield was shattered in several places, one side window was also shattered, the window of the door to enter the engine was completely broken out, there were signs of fire inside the cab, and scorching on the front of the engine.

James Grant, Belfast

Having been to observe what has been going on the past two nights, one thing missing from every news report is the absence of praise for the people on the unionist side of things. They are showing great maturity and leadership by not responding to these thugs terrorising their OWN community, and trying to goad the loyalists into retaliation. Our people will not stoop to their low level.

Bill, Shankill Road, Belfast

At the height of the trouble on Tuesday night police were having trouble trying to contain the rioters. They had bricks and bottles in the hundreds, which seemed to be stocked in wheelie bins behind the shops. There were petrol bombs as well. At about 0200 two shots rang out and everything seemed to go quite for those few seconds while everyone took stock of what had just happened. Armed police started searching for their target. I left at around 0300 when things were still tense but quieter than before. I think the heavy rain seemed to put most of the rioters off.

Liam McNamara, Belfast

I live in the Ardoyne area where this rioting is taking place. These thugs are controlling the area which is leading to rioting. They are terrorists and should be brought to justice for destroying the area. These so-called protesters who sat on the road are nothing but experienced trouble makers who don't come from this area. I have to applaud the Orange Order for the peaceful parade. I think it would be a big factor if the police were to name and shame these rioters. My home looks onto the area where the parade passes - if I don't want to watch it I close my curtains. If these people had done the same this violence wouldn't have happened, though obviously their only intention is to cause trouble.

Steven Clark, Belfast

Having grown up in Northern Ireland but resided on the mainland for the last 10 years, I see the situation there as completely farcical. I am embarrassed to hail from a country which only ever makes the headlines due to a backward and blinkered minority, and a political system which constantly appeases it. The behaviour of these rioting and law-breaking elements is completely despicable; however, the reaction of the policing service and politicians is perhaps worse. I do not see why the police turn up to these areas and effectively stand around doing nothing. There should be a firm stance taken to arrest these law-breakers and set an example that this type of behaviour will not be accepted. Obviously there is a desire not to repeat the mistakes of Bloody Sunday and similar incidents, but anyone brandishing a weapon, such as a steel bars or petrol bombs, and who has a clear intent to use them to harm others (including security forces) should be subjected to the necessary level of force to lead to their arrest, conviction and imprisonment.

Richard Jones, London, England

Ban the Marching. Stop aggravating people over something that in modern times means nothing to anyone. Grow up and move on with your lives. We are sick of it. If they don't want to stop leave them to it, and stop all funding from the mainland. We could do with reducing our spending, especially on unruly idiots with nothing better to do than riot in their own towns. Pathetic!

Dan Malone, Liverpool

This all smacks of 1968. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are making the same mistakes as the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) by letting the rioters have it easy. How long will it be before the army moves in again and sorts out the problems? The police haven't got the will, the means, or the manpower to be effective on the street when there is rioting.

Selwyn Keenan, Cardiff, Wales

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