Rioters in west Belfast on Wednesdays collided
along the so-called “peace line” that separates mostly unionist and nationalist communities, with police struggling to close a gate meant to separate the areas.
A bus was set on fire on Lanark Way near the junction with Shankill Road, said the police
Photos and video
of the scene showed youths on both sides of the gate throwing projectiles overboard, including gasoline bombs.
In a statement, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the violence and ‘attacks on the police’, adding that ‘the only way forward is to address troubling issues through peaceful and democratic means. ‘
“Now is the time for the two governments and leaders from all sides to work together to ease tensions and restore calm,” said Martin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said
he was “deeply concerned about the scenes of violence” in Northern Ireland.
“The way to resolve disputes is through dialogue, not violence or crime,” Johnson said on Twitter.
Tensions in Northern Ireland have increased since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, creating the potential for a border between the British-ruled north and the Republican of Ireland to the south, remaining in the EU. The lack of a border was seen as a key element of the post-1998 peace that followed three decades of sectarian violence.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, a de facto border was created in the Irish Sea, with goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain subject to EU controls, a move that angered union members, who accused London of abandoning them.
Speaking with CNN, Democratic Unionist Party MP Sammy Wilson called on Johnson to “tear up the deal that is breaking up the United Kingdom, tear up the deal that defines all the promises you have made to the people of Northern Ireland,” disconnects “.
Last month, the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), a group of unionist paramilitaries, said it was withdrawing its support for the Good Friday agreement that put an end to the troubles.
While the LCC said the opposition would be peaceful, the letter said the groups would not return “until our rights under the agreement are restored and the (Brexit) protocol is amended to allow unfettered access for goods, services and citizens throughout the country. United Kingdom guarantee. “
LCC Chairman David Campbell said recently, “It’s very easy for things to get out of hand, so it’s essential that dialogue takes place.”
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Late Wednesday, Mary Lou McDonald, an Irish lawmaker and leader of Sinn Fein, said: “A united voice to end all violence and restore peace is the only acceptable position of all political leaders. The attacks and intimidation must stop. . “
CNN’s Nic Robertson and James Griffiths contributed to the reporting.