Eight Northern Ireland police injured in clashes at Belfast protest

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(Reuters) - Eight police officers in Belfast, Northern Ireland were injured on Friday when protesters rioted, attacking with projectiles that included metal rods and fireworks, police said.

Police Service Northern Ireland said they arrested seven people in south Belfast after a small protest on Friday evening quickly developed into a riot.

The BBC reported about a hundred people had gathered in the Shaftesbury Square area, where protests had been expected by people loyal to British rule in the territory.

Belfast District Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Walls appealed for calm in a statement after what he called "appalling behaviour" on the scene."Eight officers have so far been injured after being subjected to a sustained attack by rioters who have thrown a number of objects at police, including heavy masonry, metal rods, fireworks and manhole covers," the police said.

"Their injuries include burns, head and leg injuries."

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)