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Loyalists weld peace gate shut to prevent access to dangerous bonfire

North Belfast loyalists welded a peace gate shut to prevent police and other statutory agencies from removing a dangerous bonfire.

The bonfire at the Duncairn Gardens peaceline between Tigers Bay and the New Lodge was dangerously close to buildings, including a community pharmacy.

Firefighters doused the pharmacy with water jets in the early hours of yesterday to try and prevent damage from the nearby bonfire.

It has now emerged that loyalists had earlier welded the peace gate shut hampering access to the site from the main road. Access from the Tigers Bay side was through an industrial estate.

It is understood that the statutory authorities were considering ordering the removal of the bonfire to protect buildings and ease interface tensions.
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