Today Councillor Cameron Day, leader of Edinburgh city council, urged the authorities to bring in a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in a bid to prevent further violence.
Asked in an interview on the BBC if there should there be a complete ban on the sale of fireworks to the public, he said: “Yes.”
He added: “I’ve said this last night and I said it last year as well, while I think… it seems unfair to punish us all, including me and my whole family and everybody else, I think the risk to people’s life and particularly emergency service workers, says [this is] the time to reconsider the public sale or fireworks needs to be reconsidered and maybe the promotion of organised [events]whether that’s in your local community centre, the council.”
He went on: “If we don’t do something. It’s quite drastic. I would hate to think what happens the next time.”
Councillor Jon Molyneux, a councillor for Pollokshields in Glasgow wrote on X last night: “Scenes like this in my ward, as well as what’s happened in Niddrie tonight, reinforce why an effective ban on the public sale of fireworks is so badly needed. These are industrial fireworks being used to intimidate people.”
A line of riot police in Niddrie, Edinburgh last night, as disorder broke out at Bonfire Night. Photo PA handout.
Around 100 youths gathered on Hay Avenue in Niddrie, of the capital just before 5pm on Sunday in a repeat of trouble 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.”
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.”
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.
Mr 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”.
Mr Findlay said: “Such attacks on police officers are cowardly, reckless and dangerous. Police Scotland need sufficient resources to tackle these thugs.”
The Scottish Government has been asked for a response but it understood that full powers over the sale of fireworks to the public are reserved to Westminster.
Last year, former community safety minister Ash Regan said the current constitutional arrangement prevented the Scottish Government from imposing a complete clampdown on the sale of fireworks.
Speaking to Holyrood’s Justice Committee, Ms Regan said there were also concerns over whether a ban would be a proportionate reaction to increasing concerns over their use.
Responding to an inquiry from The Herald today, the UK’s Department for Business and Trade said it had no plans to ban the public sale of fireworks.
A spokesman pointed to a response to a petition on the matter which said: “The Government has no plans to ban the sale of fireworks to the public but continues to monitor the situation. We believe the majority of individuals use fireworks safely and appropriately.”