A double-decker bus was completely engulfed in flames after being bombed by rioters near Northern Ireland’s “wall of peace” – the fourth night of violence in which at least 55 officers were injured, authorities said.
A wild video shared by The Sun shows the red bus slowly crawling down a Belfast street late Wednesday as a crowd of black-clad young men threw petrol bombs at it.
It soon became completely engulfed in flames, with huge plumes of black smoke rising into the air – later left only charred remains on the ground.
‘This is not a protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder, ”Prime Minister Arlene Foster tweeted along with footage of the bus attack, which it calls “an embarrassment to Northern Ireland”.
The violence has been blamed on escalating frustration over new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Gates were set on fire on a “wall of peace” – separating pro-Irish nationalist and pro-British unionist communities since “the Troubles” began more than 50 years ago – as crowds threw gas bombs over them.
Footage shows groups standing around fires on the wall in front of a sign that reads, “There was never a good war or a bad peace.”
Hundreds of people gathered on either side of a gate in the wall, “who committed serious crimes, both by attacking the police and attacking each other,” said Assistant Police Commissioner Jonathan Roberts of Northern Ireland Police.
At least seven officers were injured in Wednesday’s violence, bringing the total to 55 injured over at least four nights this week, Roberts said.
“These are scenes that we have not seen in Northern Ireland for a long time, they are scenes that a lot of people thought belonged to history,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.
“This has to stop before anyone is killed or seriously injured,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he was “concerned about the scenes of violence”.
“The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or crime,” he tweeted.
Brexit disrupted the political balance in Northern Ireland, where some identify as British and want to remain part of the UK, while others see themselves as Irish and seek unity with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. Each side blames the other for the current violence.
There is also outrage that Sinn Fein politicians who attended the funeral of a former Irish Republican Army commander last year were not prosecuted for breaking coronavirus rules at mass rallies.
Authorities have accused banned paramilitary groups of inciting youth to chaos.
“We saw young people participate in serious disorder and commit serious crimes, and they were supported and encouraged, and the actions were orchestrated by adults at times,” said Roberts, the senior police officer.
With pole wires