Calls for ban on sale of fireworks to public after Bonfire Night chaos

Dozens of youths clashed with police on November 5 in what has been described as 'unprecedented levels of violence'.

The leader of Edinburgh City Council has called for a ban on selling fireworks in the capital following disorder on Bonfire Night.

It comes after dozens of young people clashed with officers in what has been described as “unprecedented levels of violence” in the Niddrie area of the city.

Around 100 youths gathered on Hay Avenue in Edinburgh, just before 5pm on Sunday in a repeat of disorder seen last year in the neighbourhood.

Drone footage showed people aiming fireworks and petrol bombs at riot police in Edinburgh.

Police said around 50 of them were responsible for directing fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles at buildings, vehicles and police.

Council leader Cammy Day said: “Something needs to change before someone is seriously, seriously injured.

“I think it’s time to consider whether we need to ban the public sale of fireworks across the country. I absolutely accept that that will be disappointing to some people and that’s a decision for the government, but I think the concept of having organised fireworks displays is something we should maybe bring back to the city.

“The public sale of mini explosives to anybody who wants to buy them from local shops, time’s maybe up for that.”

Following a change in the law earlier this year, local councils now have powers to set up ‘firework control zones’ to restrict the use and sale of fireworks in their areas.

Full powers over the sale of fireworks to the public are reserved to Westminster.

Guidance set out for councils by the Scottish Government recommended a consultation period of between eight and 12 weeks to be held if a firework control zone is being considered.

If a decision is taken to introduce one then this must be published at least 60 days before it comes into force.

Day said that the powers hadn’t come in in enough time to implement this year, however added that bringing in a firework control zone to Niddrie and potentially other areas of Edinburgh is something that he would “100%” look at for 2024.

Assistant chief constable Tim Mairs said while the majority of Scotland enjoyed Bonfire Night, “Police Scotland officers were subjected to unprecedented levels of violence.

“A minority of individuals have been responsible for an unacceptable and frankly, disgusting level of disorder that left communities alarmed and police officers injured,” he said.

“The violent nature of the situation witnessed in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh is extremely concerning, not least because it is believed young people were being actively encouraged and co-ordinated by adults to target officers while they carried out their duties.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf called the scenes “disgraceful”.

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