The PSNI police have been accused of heavy handedness after an armoured police vehicle crashed into a car in north Belfast on Sunday night.
The driver, who was badly injured, was arrested on suspicion the car was stolen. He was later taken to hospital.
When local youths began confronting the PSNI and throwing stones, the PSNI attacked with CS gas sprays.
Local councillor Carol ni Chuilin said the PSNI had created a volatile situation using the CS sprays and had “made a bad situation worse”.
Ms Ni Chuilin accused the PSNI of acting in a provocative manner and encouraged local people to complain to the Police Ombudsman about police behaviour.
“I am questioning the tactics of the PSNI operation in which they arrested this alleged car thief in front of a crowd of young teenagers.
“They could have arrested him in any part of the area because he was allegedly driving around the area for up to an hour,” she said.
There was some controversy when rival nationalist politician, Alban Maginness of the SDLP ,said Ms Ni Chuilin’s response was “deplorable”.
“Such a knee-jerk and simplistic reaction does nothing for the local community and avoids the issues that need to be dealt with,” he said.
Local Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said based on his conversation with Ms Ni Chuilin, the difficulty from the residents’ perspective was that “CS gas was sprayed directly into the faces of up to 11 people, including a pregnant woman. Now I don’t think that is acceptable”.
PSNI BASE ATTACKED
On Saturday night, a PSNI base was petrol bombed in west Belfast. A number of devices were thrown at New Barnsley station on the Springfield Road in the early evening.
Local republican youths also attacked police vehicles with bricks and stones.
Michael Ferguson, Sinn Féin assembly member for West Belfast, said he did not know who was responsible.
“We don’t know who was involved in this incident but people in this community don’t want this kind of thing happening,” he said.