The violence flared up on the nationalist Springfield Road in west Belfast.

The PSNI say they are dealing with an ongoing incident and have advised the public to avoid the area.

Justice Minister Naomi Long pleaded for calm and condemned the violence as “utterly reckless”.

 

In a tweet, she wrote: “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.”

 

Water cannon was deployed after rioters ignored repeated police warnings to disperse.

It is the first time in six years that the security authorities have had to resort to the device to control crowds.

Earlier in the evening, there were reports that the PSNI had warned rioters that they would fire plastic bullets.

Six were fired during the unrest on Wednesday night. 

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