UK PM Johnson says deeply concerned by Northern Ireland violence

UK PM Johnson says deeply concerned by Northern Ireland violence

Attempts to spread violence beyond Loyalist communities into Nationalist communities were very worrying, said the Minister. The two sides clashed across the wall, while nearby a city bus was hijacked and set on fire.

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

The disorder follows similar attacks on police and riots in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland in the past week.

The recent violence, largely in pro-British loyalist areas, has flared amid rising tensions over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland and worsening relations between the parties in the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing Belfast government.

Johnson appealed for calm, saying: "The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality".

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the unrest, and Northern Ireland's Belfast-based government was holding an emergency meeting Thursday on the violence.

In an interview with The Sunday Independent, Campbell claimed First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster had informed the LCC that collapsing the Executive was within her party's "thinking", but only in the event that all other paths to ditch the protocol had been exhausted.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said some of the violence was influenced by "criminal elements" who helped to orchestrate the attacks.

One of those who attended the funeral, along with around 2,000 other mourners, was the vice-president of republican party Sinn Féin and current Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill.

A man walks past the burned out bus on Thursday
A man walks past the burned out bus on Thursday

A bus was set on fire on Lanark Way near the junction with Shankill Road, police said.

"But the paramilitary godfathers behind this really don't care; they will exploit these young people for their own ends".

Northern Ireland endured 30 years of sectarian conflict that killed 3,500 people.

A post-Brexit U.K. -EU trade deal has imposed customs and border checks on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. The arrangement was created to avoid checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland because an open Irish border has helped underpin the peace process built on the Good Friday accord.

The protocol includes control procedures for certain goods transited to Northern Ireland from other parts of the United Kingdom, which, according to loyalists, blurs the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as the latter remains a part of the EU.

Both Britain and the European Union have expressed concerns about how the Brexit agreement is working, and the Democratic Unionist Party wants it to be scrapped.

Hijacked cars burn at a so-called "peace wall" on Lanark Way in west Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 7th 2021.

The violence has been blamed on anger in response to a decision by the Public Prosecution Service not to pursue prosecutions against members of Sinn Fein who attended the funeral of Mr Storey past year despite restrictions over gatherings, as well as Brexit and localised issues in the south-east Antrim area.

But Sinn Féin, the SDLP, and the Alliance Party have accused unionist politicians of ramping up rhetoric by calling for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne to stand down over the police handling of Mr Storey's funeral.


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