Youth hurl bricks, fireworks gasoline bombs in Northern Ireland

violence Northern Ireland

Catholic and Protestant religious leaders have put on a demonstration of unity to urge an end to the recent violence.

After a week of disorder across the region which has left 74 police officers injured, a Catholic and a Church of Ireland bishop were among those who came together for an ecumenical service before walking together to the peace wall gate at the centre of the latest clashes.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said the mayhem “was at a scale we have not seen in recent years”.

The youths hurled bricks, fireworks and gasoline bombs at police and each other.

More than 50 police officers have been injured after coming under attack from rioters throwing petrol bombs and other missiles.

The disorder follows a controversial decision last week not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending the large-scale funeral of former IRA man Bobby Storey during strict Covid-19 rules limiting public gatherings.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) cited police engagement with funeral organisers and a lack of clarity in Stormont’s coronavirus regulations as reasons why they ruled out taking action.

The controversy has fuelled loyalist claims of “two-tier” policing, which favours Republicans. It is worth noting that two months ago the PSNI was facing similar claims of discriminatory behaviour.

Tensions have also been building in loyalist areas in recent months over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements under the NI Protocol.

Unionist parties have been calling for its removal. They say it imposes an economic border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The protocol has undermined Northern Ireland’s place in the Union and their sense of unionist identity for unionists.

There is also an element of grievances building up during the prolonged coronavirus lockdown.

For some disaffected young people, the disorder could partly be a release of frustration over the many months of restrictions.

Sources

Belfast Live

CBS 3 Duluth

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