Police officers have again come under attack in Northern Ireland tonight.

A crowd of loyalist youths in the Shankill Road area of Belfast petrol bombed and then hijacked a double-decker bus.

The youths also threw a variety of objects at PSNI vehicles.

A press photographer working for the Belfast Telegraph newspaper was assaulted and had his cameras damaged.

Police have urged the public to avoid the area and appealed to anyone with influence "to help restore calm".

The Chief Constable of the PSNI appealed for the violence to stop.

Simon Byrne tweeted: "The ongoing street disorder must stop. I am open to dialogue with anyone who is willing to work with me to resolve the issues facing our community.

"My message to those engaged in violence tonight is go home before someone is seriously injured, violence is not the answer."

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster also condemned the trouble.

In a post on Twitter the DUP leader said: "This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder."

In a tweet, Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill condemned "disgraceful scenes of criminality tonight including a potentially lethal attack on bus driver and assault on journalist".

SDLP MP Claire Hanna also criticised the attack, tweeting: "We're told by the apologists that these protests & riots are borne of frustration about not being listened to, but an excellent photo journalist is attacked while trying to capture the story."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the violence.

He wrote on Twitter: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney described the scenes in Belfast tonight as "very disturbing."

"Attacks on police, journalists and citizens must be condemned by all," he tweeted.

"There are peaceful, democratic and legal channels to address all issues and concerns. Calm and positive leadership needed from all."

The Stormont Assembly is set to be recalled tomorrow morning for an emergency debate following days of violence.

Riots and attacks on police have taken place repeatedly throughout the last week and have resumed after a relative lull yesterday.

The PSNI said that 41 officers had been injured in disorder across Northern Ireland since last Friday night.

Earlier today, DUP MP Gregory Campbell urged loyalist protesters to "use their heads"' and step away from situations which may descend into disorder.

The cause of the unrest has been attributed to frustration over a decision not to prosecute members of Sinn Féin over alleged coronavirus regulation breaches at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.

Opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol and drugs seizures against a dissident faction of the UDA in south-east Antrim have also been blamed.

The DUP has called for the resignation of PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne over the lack of prosecutions.

Additional reporting PA