Bonfire Night disorder: Police attacked with petrol bombs in 'disgusting' violence in Edinburgh's Niddrie

Police say they were subjected to ‘unprecedented levels of violence’

Eight police officers sustained minor injuries after a number of incidents with petrol bombs, fireworks and projectiles during Bonfire Night disorder.

Around 100 youths gathered on Hay Avenue in Niddrie, Edinburgh, just before 5pm on Sunday in a repeat of disorder seen last year in the neighbourhood.

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Drone footage showed people aiming fireworks and petrol bombs at riot police in Edinburgh.

First Minister Humza Yousaf described the scenes as “disgraceful”.

“Disgraceful scenes of fireworks misuse across some areas of Scotland last night, particularly in Niddrie,” he posted on X.

"I pay tribute to @fire_scot & @PoliceScotland officers who should not be targeted & attacked for doing their job. Those responsible should feel the full force of the law.”

Police say around 50 of them were responsible for directing fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles at buildings, vehicles and police.

Police Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh where around 100 young people clashed with riot police, with fireworks being thrown directly at officers. Photo: Handout/PA WirePolice Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh where around 100 young people clashed with riot police, with fireworks being thrown directly at officers. Photo: Handout/PA Wire
Police Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh where around 100 young people clashed with riot police, with fireworks being thrown directly at officers. Photo: Handout/PA Wire

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said while the majority of Scotland enjoyed Bonfire Night, “Police Scotland officers were subjected to unprecedented levels of violence.

“A minority of individuals have been responsible for an unacceptable and frankly, disgusting level of disorder that left communities alarmed and police officers injured.

“The violent nature of the situation witnessed in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh is extremely concerning, not least because it is believed young people were being actively encouraged and co-ordinated by adults to target officers while they carried out their duties.”

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Drone footage showed a line of police officers with riot shields standing in front of vans with blue lights flashing.

A fire was lit in the street in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh on Bonfire Night 2022 Photo: Dan Barker/PA WireA fire was lit in the street in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh on Bonfire Night 2022 Photo: Dan Barker/PA Wire
A fire was lit in the street in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh on Bonfire Night 2022 Photo: Dan Barker/PA Wire

A mob of black-clad youths gathered on grass in front of them and began throwing pyrotechnics.

The police made a retreat as a petrol bomb hit the ground in front of them and fireworks exploded.

The assault continued, with petrol bombs and fireworks forcing police to shuffle backwards.

The officers then ran at the assailants, in footage filmed from a nearby sports centre.

Police Scotland said there were a small number of arrests made with further arrests anticipated to follow in the coming days as investigations continue.

In Dundee, two police vehicles were struck by bricks, while in Glasgow two groups of youths were fighting and directing fireworks towards each other.

Last year in Niddrie, motorbike gangs terrorised the neighbourhood on Bonfire Night while fireworks were thrown on the ground.

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In 2018, Police Scotland set up Operation Moonbeam to tackle Bonfire Night chaos, and on Tuesday, riot police attended Kirkton, Dundee, after children reportedly as young as 10 set off fireworks.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay branded the youths in Edinburgh “thugs”, and council leader Cammy Day warned they would be prosecuted.

Mr Day said: “I’m appalled to see the scenes in Niddrie this evening. We’ve been clear that this sort of conduct is unacceptable.

“We’ve been working throughout the year in our communities to mitigate Bonfire Night-related disruption so it is extremely disappointing to see a minority of people behaving in this way.

“This reckless behaviour endangers lives and, like the majority, I share in their dismay and upset at this disgraceful behaviour.”

Mr Findlay said: “Such attacks on police officers are cowardly, reckless and dangerous. Police Scotland need sufficient resources to tackle these thugs.”

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