POLICE in Northern Ireland have been blamed for provoking a riot in a seaside town.
Reports The Belfast Telegraph: "The riot squad was called in after officers were attacked with bottles and other missiles by crowds in the centre of Ballycastle, just hours before the start of the famous Auld Lammas Fair. Two officers were injured.
"The street disturbances, which began after the pubs closed, lasted an hour.
"Tens of thousands of people later packed the town for the event which claims to be Ireland's oldest festival. But the police tactics used to quell the trouble in the early hours were heavily criticised.
"Padraig McShane, an independent member of Moyle District Council, who watched the police in action claimed the officers over-reacted and goaded some of the young people. He said the atmosphere in the town had been good until the riot squad arrived.
"Mr McShane said: 'This was heavy handed policing. They were very aggressive and the batons were out before the arrests. It's very easy for the police to look at young people on the wrong side and give them a hard time. But that's what happened and the violence was not a reflection of the people of Ballycastle'."