Petrol bombs thrown in Belfast as Northern Ireland violence continues – JPNN us News

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political leaders in northern ireland have condemned the writing that’s raged in belfast for six nights but criticized each other about the underlying causes police were attacked petrol bombs were thrown and a bus was set on fire last night in total 55 police officers have been injured in the violence the conflict in northern ireland goes back to the late 1960s it’s centered on religion and the area’s status unionist parties who represent mainly the protestant community believe it should remain part of the united kingdom but nationalist parties who were mainly roman catholic believe it should leave the uk and unite with the republic of ireland a conflict between the two communities known as the trouble started in the 60s and cost the lives of more than 3 500 people on the 10th of april 1998 the good friday agreement was signed between the uk government the irish government and northern ireland political parties it set up a power sharing government in belfast with the republic having some say in areas like farming and health the following month a referendum was held on both sides of the irish border for people to decide whether or not they wanted the agreement the result was a resounding yes and peace was restored chris page has this report on wednesday night’s riots in west belfast the barrier which is commonly known as a peace line was anything but peaceful last night the wall was built many years ago to try to stop clashes between politically divided communities in west belfast but there was trouble on both sides as crowds threw petrol bombs fireworks and bricks the violence began on the loyalist shankle road where protesters had gathered a bus was hijacked and set on fire there were no passengers on board but the driver was said to be very shaken then across the peace wall in the springfield road area republican youths rioted community representatives tried to calm the situation it’s sad to see this we’re trying to appeal these young people but this isn’t the answer they shouldn’t be engaging in violence sectarian violence it’s only a matter of time i feel it before someone gets seriously hurt people in northern ireland had hoped that scenes of destruction like this belonged well in the past but today as the debris and damage from last night has cleaned up the question is does the violence of the last week have the potential to escalate my opinion to those that wish to organize disorder is not to do it and it will be the subject of investigation and it serves no purpose and say nobody wants to see the scenes that we have seen last night we now have a new generation um of children and young people who have been exposed to things that they won’t have seen previously understanding order 11.

I have someone the family to me today police briefed ministers in the devolved government this morning and the storm assembly returned early from its easter break to discuss the issues there can be nucleus in our society for violence or the threat of violence and it must stop just as it was wrong in the past and was never justified so what is wrong now and cannot be justified as political leaders we must stand united and appealing to all concerned to refrain from further threats or use of violence and recognize that it’s only through democratic politics that we can solve our problems and concerns both boris johnson and the irish prime minister michael martin have condemned the violence it’s been the most sustained period of unrest on the streets in northern ireland for some time only small areas have been affected so far but many people in this part of the uk are feeling a new and yet familiar sense of concern chris page bbc news belfast well earlier i spoke to jonathan powell former british chief negotiator on northern ireland at the time of the good friday agreement here’s what he had to say about the violence well a lot of the riots have been submarine for some time the riots are engaged in by criminal elements who are using very young children as young as 12 and 13 but the underlying political problems really date back to brexit the problem was brexit was always going to hurt one community’s rights if we leave the eu there had to be a border somewhere it could be on the island of ireland which would hurt nationalist republicans or in the irish or hurt unionists so that’s led to unionists getting angry particularly because the implementation of it has led to real problems in terms of supermarkets and supplies coming in so it’s coming from that and then it’s coming from the dup the unionist party who called on the head of the police to resign after he allowed a republican funeral to go ahead despite the coving rules so you’ve got this simmering tension and it’s very sad to see this kind of violence on the street again i mean this is uh obviously a very complex situation and you know all about the the troubles uh all too well i i mean are we seeing a situation where we’re rolling back to the past no i don’t think this will take us back into the troubles but i do think that politicians are playing with matches this is the time of year in northern ireland when as the evenings grow longer you can get into sustained rioting we often have in the past and now you have the two communities attacking each other again which happened last night this could take off in a very ugly way i really do think it’s incumbent on the political leaders in northern ireland to come together and to actually do the right thing to stop this they can do that if they unite it is also time for the british government to get involved along with the irish government and use their good offices to start dialogue rather than allowing this violence to take place boris johnson’s taken a week before he’s even commented on it uh the irish prime minister has been anxious to take action i hope the british government will take the responsibility seriously i i suppose the the focus has been on the pandemic but once the pandemic fades you know the focus will have to come on the long-term effects of of brexit again it will brexit is going to be a problem for northern ireland it always was going to be so john major and tony blair pointed this out during the referendum campaign we now have the northern ireland protocol that we have the border in the rhc and it’s going to have to be made to work and i think it’s very important the british government engages responsibly with the eu and making that work and that the eu is flexible in the way that it makes some of these regulations work the british government has approached this in the wrong way is making it an argument in the eu whereas actually they have a common interest in facilitating this and ensuring it does not cause problems i mean do you feel that the political leaders and the police aren’t doing enough i think police are doing the best that they can is very difficult in these circumstances to deal with rioting out to deal with some of the loyalists who’ve been stirring it up who are actually basically criminals and so i do have a lot of sympathy for the police as i say my problem is that politicians are taking really dangerous steps this is the time of year when we know there can be trouble in northern ireland and they are literally playing with matches with a gas leaking all around us and i do hope they’re going to stop and actually try and calm things down how is the british government widely viewed well the british government is supported by one half of the community by the by the union’s community who want to remain in the united kingdom disliked by the other half but the problem with brexit was the majority of people in northern ireland voted to remain uh in the eu a large majority and so they have been forced out of the eu against their will and that’s part of the trouble we’re facing in northern ireland now i mean when you say the political leaders are playing with fire here what exactly are they doing and saying or do you feel that they’re not doing and saying enough i do think it’s a wrong thing for arlene foster who’s the dup leader to be demanding that the chief constable the head of the police resign at this stage uh we do not want the police being discovulated right at the beginning of this difficult uh season we need some stability in the police and everyone’s supporting the police i think there’s a terrible mistake to try and undermine him what was it seeing though as you say is frankly young children and and teenagers out on the streets it is this is actually much younger than we’ve seen before the dissident republicans so the terrorist group on the other side have been using youngish teenagers uh to attack people and that caused the journalists to be shot a couple years ago this time it’s young loyalists so from the prostate population and they’re being used by these older men who are basically criminals to go out on the street and create this trouble it’s a very disturbing new feature yeah i mean and i want to talk a little bit more about that if that is something that we’ve seen them use as a tool again why isn’t the police able to crack down on that it’s very difficult these organizations are almost like mafia type organizations they have a hold over the community they can threaten people if they release information so the police find it very hard to crack down on this kind of crime i think it needs to be part of an effort to reach out to the people in those communities who want to take politics they haven’t been represented politically since the sad death of their leader david irvine who played a key role in the negotiations the good friday agreement and subsequently so they don’t have a political voice they need to be engaged in dialogue but these are very deprived areas the lowest level of educational achievement anywhere in europe

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