Leaders calm down after a night of ‘severe’ violence in Northern Ireland

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Belfast, Northern Ireland – On at least the fourth night in a week of severe violence in Northern Ireland, youth opened fire on a hijacked bus and hurled petrol bombs at police in Belfast, where Britain’s exit from the European Union upset the uneasy political balance Gone. .

People looted bricks, fireworks and gasoline bombs on Wednesday night in both directions on a concrete “peace wall” that separates Protestant, British loyalists and Catholic, Irish nationalist neighborhoods.

Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said several hundred people gathered on both sides of a gate in the wall, where “the mob … were committing serious criminal offenses, both attacking police and one – were attacking each other. “

On Wednesday, police separated nationalists and loyalists after clashing in western Belfast in Northern Ireland.Peter Morrison / AP

He said that a total of 55 police officers have been injured on several nights of chaos.

The recent violence, in largely loyal, Protestant territories, has sparked tensions between Northern Ireland over post-Brexit rules and deteriorating relations between parties in the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing Belfast government. Britain’s economic split from the European Union over the past year has eroded the political balance in Northern Ireland, where some people identify as British and want to remain part of Britain, while others see themselves as Irish and The neighboring republics seek unity with Ireland, which is a member of the European Union.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the unrest, and the Belfast-based government of Northern Ireland held an emergency meeting on violence on Thursday.

Appealing to remain calm, Johnson said, “The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality.” Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, of the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party, and Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister of the Irish nationalist party Sin Féin, both condemned the disorder and attacks on the police.

The latest disturbances followed unrest over the Easter long weekend in the British Unionist areas in and around Belfast and Londonderry, also known as Derry, which saw police officers on fire and cars on projectiles and gasoline bombs.

The faithful engage in violent unrest in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday.Charles McClain / Getty Images

Authorities have accused paramilitary groups of inciting young people to scramble.

Senior Police Officer Roberts said, “We saw young people taking part in serious disorder and taking part in serious criminal offenses and were supported and encouraged and taken action by adults at some point.”

A new UK-EU trade deal has imposed customs and border checks on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The arrangement was designed to avoid checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland as an open Irish border has helped ease the built-in peace process. 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The agreement brought to an end decades of violence by the Irish Republic, British loyalists, and Britain’s armed forces that killed more than 3,000 people. But the Confederates say there is a new Czech amount for a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain, they fear that reduces the region’s place in the United Kingdom and relations with the Irish Republic Can strengthen, strengthen the call for a united Ireland. .

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Both Britain and the European Union have expressed concerns over how the agreement is working, and the Democratic Unionist Party, which heads the Northern Ireland government, has called for its termination.

Katy Hayward, a professor at Queen’s University Belfast and the UK’s senior fellow at the changing Europe think tank, said the Unionists felt “the Union is in great danger, that Northern Ireland’s place in the Union is in danger and they feel it is in London.” . “

Unionists are also angered by the police’s decision not to prosecute Sin Féin politicians who attended the funeral of a former Irish Republican army commander in June. Bobby Store’s funeral attracted a large crowd, despite the massive mobilization of the Korby virus.

The main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of the Northern Ireland police chief over the dispute, claiming he has lost the trust of his community.

“You have a very strange political atmosphere, trying to urge calm and restraint,” said Hayward.

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