- Gown Team
Police have confirmed that nineteen people have been arrested and detained after the disturbances in the Holylands yesterday afternoon.
Eleven of those arrested remain in custody, of which five have appeared before Laganside court this morning.
Up to 400 young people, students and non-students, are understood to have been involved in the St Patrick's Day incident, centred on Carmel Street in the Holylands. One car was reportedly vandalised, while bricks and bottles were thrown at police on the scene.
The atmosphere is believed to have intensified considerably with the adversarial intervention of the police, who, using dogs and full riot equipment, attempted to restore order in the area.
While much of the publicity has centred on students, one reveler asserted that the first missile thrown at police came from a Belfast youth unattached to either of the main local universities. Heavy street drinking, reportedly sparked by house parties spilling onto the street prompted the initial presence of the police. Another student alleged that the arrest of a female student gave rise to an aggressive response from onlookers.
MP for South Belfast Alasdair McDonnell has called for the expulsion of students involved in yesterday's disturbance in the Holylands area. In a press statement, the university ascertained that those found to have “brought the university into disrepute” would be subjected to the full rigours of the strict off-campus code.
QUBSU president Ciarnan Helferty stated that, “those involved are a disgrace and an example should, and will, be made of them.”
The Gown gauged the reaction of students to yesterday's events. Many made much of the fact that QUB students are bearing the brunt of the bad publicity. According to one student, “Queen's is getting too much flak, Jordanstown is not taking enough responsibility.” Others questioned whether Queen's had responsibility in this matter, with one student deeming it “a case of individual responsibility...if people are going to be morons, they are going to be morons. Queen's can't change that.” By contrast, some students were more sympathetic: “the media has blown it out of proportion. It was just a bit of craic.”
The Gown can confirm that this evening's shift for the Queen's Annual Fund (currently running a telephone fundraising campaign with student callers) has been cancelled due to the bad press caused by yesterday's incident.