By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
An incident where petrol bombs were thrown in north Belfast on Thursday evening is being treated as a hate crime, police said.
The PSNI said its members are in attendance at the scene following a report of petrol bombs being thrown in the Duncairn Gardens area, near the Adam Street bonfire in north Belfast.
Chief Inspector Darren Fox said: “Shortly before 5pm we received a report that a number of youths had gathered in the area and were throwing petrol bombs and bricks in the vicinity of a bonfire in Adam Street.
“A crowd that had gathered was quickly dispersed by police. One person has been cautioned for possession of an offensive weapon and will be subject to report to the Public Prosecution Service.
“Police are treating this incident as a hate crime.”
The Orange Order holds parades in cities and towns across the North every July 12th to mark King William’s victory over King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Mr Fox added that police would maintain “a visible presence” in the area on Thursday evening to provide reassurance to local communities, and said the force was “closely liaising” with community representatives to assist in reducing tensions.
DUP policing board member Joanne Bunting has urged those preparing for celebrations on July 11th and 12th not to be provoked by the intolerance of others.
She said: “The attack on the Adam Street bonfire is an obvious and deliberate attempt to increase tensions and to provoke a response.
“I would urge everyone, both in that area and across Northern Ireland, not to respond to such attempts. The enjoyment of celebrations over the 11th and 12th July period should not be destroyed by the intolerance of others and attempts to provoke trouble.
“So far this year we have not faced some of the difficulties that have arisen in previous years.
“Unfortunately there are some elements within our society who want to provoke this trouble, but I would urge cool heads at this time. We want to see the many events that will take place over the next few days highlighted as the cultural and community celebrations they are, not because of trouble arising.”