Executive to hold emergency meeting — BELFAST STREET VIOLENCE

Marco Green
Апреля 8, 2021

An emergency meeting of Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive will take place on Thursday morning after a night of violence in west Belfast.

Rioters set a hijacked bus on fire and hurled gasoline bombs at police in Belfast in the fourth night of violence in a week in Northern Ireland, where Brexit has unsettled an uneasy political balance.

Condemnation of the violence was led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said the scenes "deeply concerned" him.

The PSNI confirmed after 7pm tonight that crowds had gathered at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast.

"Crowds of a few hundred on each side throwing petrol bombs over in both directions", she said in a tweet.

Politicians will consider a motion calling for an "immediate and complete end" to violence in loyalist areas.

"I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist", Johnson said in a tweet. The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality.

The reason behind the unrest has largely been attributed to frustration over the recent decision not to prosecute members of Sinn Féin over alleged public health breaches after they attended the funeral of Bobby Storey.

However, its implementation has to date proved contentious and problematic, with the new regulatory and customs processes now required to bring goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, triggering lengthy delays at the province's ports, while also sparking growing unrest among unionists and loyalists at the presence of an Irish Sea trading border.

The leaders of Northern Ireland's largest political parties Sinn Fein and the DUP both condemned the violence, pointing in particular to the bus hijacking and an attack on a photojournalist from the Belfast Telegraph newspaper.

"These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism. They. only serve to take the focus off the real law breakers in Sinn Féin", she posted on social media.

The main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Northern Ireland's police chief over the controversy, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: "This is not protest".

In a statement, NIPB's chair, Doug Garrett, said it was "truly shocking that in a short space of time, 41 officers have sustained injuries" and said it was "undoubtedly concerning that so many young people have been drawn into the attacks on the police and the consequences that criminalisation may have for their lives".

It also calls for MLAs to "recognise that leadership comes with responsibility and recommits to upholding a culture of lawfulness in both actions and words".

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