PM urges people to be calm after the hijacking of bus by Belfast protesters
BELFAST (UK) – Crowds of youths in a pro-British area of Belfast set ablaze a hijacked bus and attacked police with stones, which were the latest of a series of nightly outbreaks of violence that set off last week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence.
The violence comes with the growing frustration among many in the pro-British unionist community regarding new barriers on new trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom from Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have also hinted at the police not to put the Irish nationalists Sinn Fein through a prosecution for a large funeral last year that violated COVID-19 regulations.
Sinn Fein in turn have levelled criticism at the DUP for evoking tensions with their staunch opposition to the new trading arrangements.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said some of the violence was triggered by “criminal elements” who in turn contributed to mobilise the attacks.
The violence that happened on Wednesday took place near the Shankill Road in west Belfast near a “peace wall” that demarcates the community from the Irish nationalist stronghold of the Falls Road. Groups of youth had also come together.
The walls and fences were built between the two communities to put an end to clashes on sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which lasted for three decades, and that largely ended with a 1998 peace deal.
Johnson wrote in a Twitter post, “I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland. The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster wrote in a Twitter post that went on to describe rivals Sinn Fein, “These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism. They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland as “the real law breakers.”