Northern Ireland

Boy attacked in north Belfast assault out of hospital

Duncairn Parade Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy was attacked in front of a crowd of youths in the New Lodge area of north Belfast

A 14-year-old boy who suffered head injuries in a sectarian attack in north Belfast has been discharged from hospital.

He was attacked by three youths with sticks during more than an hour of disturbances near an interface at North Queen Street on Saturday evening.

Police said "a crowd of people watched" the attack.

The victim, a Protestant, managed to "limp away" from the scene and was taken to hospital.

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed to BBC News NI that the assault is being investigated as a sectarian attack.

A crowd of up to 30 youths had gathered at Duncairn Parade, off New Lodge Road, at about 19:15 GMT on Saturday.

Police vehicle damaged

Officers responded to a report that a boy had been attacked, but when they arrived, the crowd had dispersed and the boy had left the scene.

About an hour later, a police vehicle was damaged when officers were called to a bin on fire in Victoria Parade.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Police came under attack when they responded to a bin fire

Insp Keith Hutchinson appealed to parents of young people in the area to take responsibility for their actions.

'Terrified'

"This behaviour is senseless and unacceptable. It achieves nothing and only creates inconvenience, disruption and misery for the local community," he said.

"I would again urge parents within these areas to monitor the activities of their children. Know where they are. Know what they're doing."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Sinn Féin said the recent disturbances have frightened older residents

Earlier, Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said there has been an "upsurge in anti-social behaviour" in the area and she criticised the response of the statutory authorities.

"There is a very small minority of young people involved in the anti-social behaviour but children as young as 14 are getting caught up in this," she said.

"Local residents are angry that this activity has continued over a couple of days despite the best efforts of youth workers and local community leaders.

"Residents want the statutory bodies to step up to the plate and the PSNI has assured me that police patrols will be stepped up.

"Older residents are terrified," she added.

Ms Ní Chuilín said Sinn Féin would meet police, parents, community leaders and statutory agencies on Monday to co-ordinate a response to anti-social behaviour in the area.

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