Northern Ireland leaders seek calm after violence escalates – Orange County Register

Peter Morrison and Jill Laures

Belfast, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland officials sought to calm down Thursday after Protestant and Catholic youth in Belfast threw bricks, fireworks and petrol bombs at police and each other. This was the worst turmoil of a week of street violence in the region, and Brexit disrupted an uneasy political balance.

A crowd, including children aged 12 or 13, clashed over the concrete “peace wall” of western Belfast. This wall separates the Protestant district of the British Loyalist from the Catholic region of the Irish nationalists. Police fired rubber bullets at the crowd, and a nearby city bus was hijacked and fired.

In Northern Ireland, street violence has sporadically occurred since the Good Friday Peace Accords ended the “trouble” in 1998. This is a decades of Catholic-Protestant bloodshed over the situation in an area where more than 3,000 people have died.

But Wednesday’s mayhem was “on a scale we haven’t seen in recent years,” said Constable Jonathan Roberts, assistant chief of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He said he was fortunate that 55 police officers were injured in the turmoil for several nights and no one was seriously injured or killed.

Further violence broke out in the Belfast nationalist Springfield Road area on Thursday night. There, a young man threw a stone at the police and responded with a water cannon blast.

Britain’s division from the EU highlighted the disputed position of Northern Ireland. Some recognize it as the United Kingdom and want to remain part of the United Kingdom, while others consider themselves Ireland and seek unity with neighboring Republics of Ireland and EU member states. I am.

Intensifying tensions over post-Brexit trade rules and deteriorating relations between Protestant and Catholic political parties in the Belfast government have heightened concerns over the past week, primarily in the Protestant region of Loyalists.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed anxiety, saying, “The way to resolve the difference is not through violence or crime, but through dialogue.” He sent Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis to Belfast for talks with local political leaders.

White House spokesman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration was concerned about violence and said, “We are seeking calm with leaders from Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland.” ..

Meanwhile, Belfast-based parliament and government in Northern Ireland held an emergency meeting on Thursday calling for the end of violence.

“If politics is found to have failed, those who fill the void will cause despair,” warned Prime Minister Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party. Michelle O’Neill, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland’s nationalist party Sinn Féin, called the violence “totally sad.”

Despite the unified message, Northern Irish politicians are deeply divided and street events are often out of their control.

As many expected, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU made the situation volatile — almost 50 years after its accession — finally on December 31st.

Post-Brexit trade agreements between the UK and the EU have imposed customs and border crossings on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. This arrangement was designed to avoid inspections between Northern Ireland and Ireland, as the open Irish border underpins peace. The process has been built.

But union members say the new check is equivalent to creating a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. What they fear is detrimental to the region’s position in the UK.

Recent turmoil followed unrest in Belfast and London Derry (also known as Derry) and the surrounding pro-British union members area over a long Easter weekend, followed by car fires, debris and petrol bombs. Was thrown at a police officer.

Some politicians and police have accused the illegal paramilitary organizations of maintaining power in the working-class community instigating youth and causing mayhem. They expressed resentment that the new generation was exposed to and drawn into violence.

Justice Minister Naomi Long of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland said it was scary to watch an adult video “supporting, ridiculing and encouraging young people who are causing havoc in their area.”

“This is nothing but child abuse,” she said.

Both the UK and the EU have expressed concern about how the Brexit agreement works, and the Democratic Unionist Party wants to abolish it. But long-term solutions require political commitments that appear to be lacking. The UK and the EU are fighting over a new trade deal and show little goodwill needed to make the new relationship work. The Sinn Féin Party and the Democratic Unionist Party have blamed each other for the worsening situation.

Katie Hayward, a professor of political science at Queen’s University Belfast and a senior British researcher at a changing European think tank, said the union members were “the location of Northern Ireland is under threat from the union and betrayed by London. I feel it. “

Union members are also angry with police’s decision not to prosecute Sinn Féin politicians who attended the funeral of a former Republican commander in Ireland in June. The Bobby Story funeral attracted a large number of people, even though coronavirus rules prohibit large gatherings.

Major union parties demanded the resignation of the Northern Ireland police chief over the controversy, claiming that he had lost credibility in their community.

“You have a very volatile political atmosphere, and those seeking calm and restraint are a kind of weakening,” Hayward said. “It’s really easy to see how it can get worse.”


The outlaw reported from London.

Northern Ireland leaders seek calm after violence escalates – Orange County Register Source link Northern Ireland leaders seek calm after violence escalates – Orange County Register

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