Fire crews were attacked and eight police officers injured in Bonfire Night disorder which saw petrol bombs and fireworks thrown at riot police in Edinburgh.
Around 100 youths gathered on Hay Avenue in Niddrie, Edinburgh, just before 5pm on Sunday in a repeat of disorder seen last year in the neighbourhood.
Police say around 50 people were responsible for directing fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles at buildings, vehicles and police.
Officers were also called to incidents in Dundee and Glasgow, with eight officers in Glasgow and Edinburgh injured on what police described as a night of “unprecedented levels of violence”.
Meanwhile the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said there were nine attacks on its crews during an eight-hour period on Bonfire Night, which saw crews bombarded with fireworks and bricks.
No firefighters were injured – however, a fire appliance in West Lothian had a windscreen smashed by a brick and had to be removed from operational service.
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said that 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.
“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.”
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf branded the incidents “disgraceful” and said those responsible should feel the full force of the law.
Drone footage from Niddrie showed a line of police officers with riot shields standing in front of vans with blue lights flashing.
A mob of black-clad youths gathered on grass in front of them and began throwing pyrotechnics.
The police made a retreat as a petrol bomb hit the ground in front of them and fireworks exploded.
The assault continued, with petrol bombs and fireworks forcing police to shuffle backwards.
The officers then ran at the assailants, in footage filmed from a nearby sports centre.
In Dundee, two police vehicles were struck by bricks in the Beauly Square area, while in Glasgow police received a report of two separate groups of youths fighting and throwing fireworks at one another in Barmulloch.
Police Scotland said there were a small number of arrests made with further arrests anticipated to follow in the coming days as investigations continue.
In 2018, Police Scotland set up Operation Moonbeam to tackle Bonfire Night disorder.
Last year in Niddrie, motorbike gangs terrorised the neighbourhood on Bonfire Night while fireworks were thrown on the ground.
On Halloween this year, riot police attended Kirkton, Dundee, after children reportedly as young as 10 set off fireworks.
Andy Watt, SFRS Assistant Chief Officer, said: “Attacks on our firefighters are completely unacceptable.
“Our staff should be able to carry out their role without being attacked. It is disappointing that people have tried to hurt firefighters and have damaged our appliances.
“This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion, but it can impact on our emergency service colleagues – including the police – when they are supporting us on scene to ensure the safety of our personnel.”
Our #OpMoonbeam and divisional officers have been subjected to unprecedented levels of violence while protecting communities during Bonfire Night.
— Police Scotland (@PoliceScotland) November 6, 2023
SFRS received more than 892 calls from the public and Operations Control mobilised firefighters to approximately 355 bonfires across the country between 3.30pm and midnight on Sunday November 5.
Humza Yousaf posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Disgraceful scenes of fireworks misuse across some areas of Scotland last night, particularly in Niddrie. I pay tribute to @fire_scot & @PoliceScotland officers who should not be targeted & attacked for doing their job.
“Those responsible should feel the full force of the law.”
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay branded the youths in Edinburgh “thugs”, and council leader Cammy Day said their behaviour was “disgraceful”.
Mr Day said: “I’m appalled to see the scenes in Niddrie this evening. We’ve been clear that this sort of conduct is unacceptable.
“We’ve been working throughout the year in our communities to mitigate Bonfire Night-related disruption so it is extremely disappointing to see a minority of people behaving in this way.
“This reckless behaviour endangers lives and, like the majority, I share in their dismay and upset at this disgraceful behaviour.”
Mr Findlay said: “Such attacks on police officers are cowardly, reckless and dangerous. Police Scotland need sufficient resources to tackle these thugs.”