Clashes between Catholics and Protestants and attacks on police escalated last night into riots in North Ireland, which will be at the center of today’s meeting of the local government.
The unrest erupts as more supporters of the Northern Ireland-Britain union grow out of new barriers to trade between the region and the rest of the UK, which many have warned could spark violent violence.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as reported by AMPE, stated that he is “deeply concerned” by the violence, due to which dozens of police officers have been injured in recent days. His Irish counterpart Michael Martin called on Dublin, London and all Northern Ireland parties to work together to de-escalate tensions and restore calm.
The Government of Northern Ireland, a coalition between Irish nationalists and their opponents, will meet later today to discuss the riots, said local government vice president Michelle O’Neill.
“Those involved in violence, criminal corruption, manipulation of our youth and attacks on police must stop,” O’Neill, who belongs to the nationalist Irish Sinn Fein party, said on Twitter.
Groups of young people gathered in a Protestant neighborhood in Belfast, Lanark Way, and set fire to a bus on a busy street, as announced by the Northern Irish Police. Both the driver and the passengers of the bus are fine.
“The way to resolve disputes is through dialogue, not violence or crime,” Johnson tweeted.
The incident occurred near one of the so-called “walls of peace” -large metal dams- in Belfast that separate the catholic from the Protestant quarters. Large groups of people threw flares of bricks, Molotov cocktails at each other.
“Hundreds of people from all directions dropped Molotov cocktails,” a BBC correspondent said, but with the arrival of police the riots subsided, he added.
Metro traffic was suspended in the area.
“This is not a protest,” said Northern Ireland Prime Minister Arlene Foster. It’s a vandalism and an assassination attempt. “
Violent incidents first broke out in Londonderry last week before spreading to a Protestant neighborhood in Belfast.