Bonfire night violence deliberately organised, say police

27 minutes ago
About sharing

Watch: Drone video shows fireworks being fired at police

Eight police officers have been injured in what police described as organised Bonfire Night clashes in Scotland.

The most serious disorder took place in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh, where a group of 50 youths threw fireworks and petrol bombs at riot police.

Police Scotland said eight officers suffered minor injuries during “unprecedented levels of violence”.

The leader of Edinburgh City Council, Cammy Day, has called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public.

And First Minister Humza Yousaf said there had been “disgraceful scenes of fireworks misuse” in parts of Scotland, particularly in Niddrie.

“Those responsible should feel the full force of the law,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Police were called to the Hay Avenue area of Niddrie at about 16:40 on Sunday after reports of antisocial use of fireworks.

Images posted on social media showed bystanders watching the violence. The videos showed officers being bombarded with explosives while teenagers gathered on a green. Some can be seen filming the action.

About 50 youths within a larger group of youths and adults were responsible for directing fireworks at vehicles and buildings before their behaviour escalated when officers arrived, the police said.

There was a clean-up operation in Niddrie on Monday morning

In other incidents, two police vehicles were damaged after being struck with bricks in the Beauly Square area of Dundee.

In Glasgow, officers responded to a report of two groups of youths fighting and throwing fireworks at one another in the Quarrywood Avenue area of Barmulloch.

In total, eight police officers were injured in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, who leads the fireworks policing programme Operation Moonbeam, said a minority of individuals had been responsible for an “unacceptable and frankly disgusting level of disorder that left communities alarmed and police officers injured”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “There undoubtedly were adults involved in orchestrating that behaviour and supplying weapons to those young people.

“I want to be clear. This was not a spontaneous act of anti-social behaviour by young people.

“This was a concerted effort to attack police and emergency workers – and actually to attack the community of Niddrie – orchestrated by adults.”

ACC Mairs said the police had made one arrest at the scene and had captured “hours and hours of footage” for evidence.

He paid tribute to his officers, who had faced “horrific conditions” but reacted “professionally, with discipline and courage”.

Footage showed a stand-off between youths and police in Niddrie

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said there were nine attacks on its crews during an eight-hour period on Bonfire Night, which saw crews bombarded with fireworks and bricks.

The attacks happened in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Blantyre in South Lanarkshire, and Blackburn in West Lothian.

No firefighters were injured. A fire appliance in West Lothian had its windscreen smashed by a brick and had to be removed from operational service.

Sunday’s incidents followed four attacks on crews in Ayrshire and Edinburgh in the week leading up to Bonfire Night, as well as two other weekend attacks in Troon and Glasgow.

Assistant chief officer Andy Watt described the total of 15 attacks over the last week as “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “Our staff should be able to carry out their role without being attacked. It is disappointing that people have tried to hurt firefighters and have damaged our appliances.

“This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion, but it can impact on our emergency service colleagues – including the police – when they are supporting us on scene to ensure the safety of our personnel.”

Fireworks ban call

City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day described the attacks as “unprecedented…. disgusting and appalling”.

“The behaviour of a small group of people who have attacked police officers during the line of duty, disrupted a whole community and lead to us having to close down a part of the east of the city last night,” he said.

“In my lifetime I have never seen this to this extent, so we have called for an urgent debrief early this week to look at what happened, how that plan was executed and how we plan ahead for the future,” he added.

Mr Day said the council would now look to bring in powers to prevent any repeat of Sunday’s events and he supported a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public.

He said: “I absolutely respect this seems unfair to punish us all for that, and it would include my and my whole family and everybody else.

“But I think the risk to people, particularly emergency service workers, is such that… the public sale of fireworks needs to be reconsidered.

“Because if we don’t do something that’s quite drastic I would hate to think what happens the next time.”

Related Topics

More on this story

3 hours ago
2 days ago
12 January