(Reuters)-In the context of increased tensions in the region after Brexit, chaos occurred in the pro-British area of Northern Ireland for the second night in a row. The car was ignited the next night and masked men opened fire on police cars with petrol bombs.
Many unionists who support the United Kingdom strongly opposed the introduction of new trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom as part of Britain’s departure from the European Union, and warned that their anxiety could lead to violence.
Political leaders including the British Minister of Northern Ireland called for calm early on Saturday, but police said they participated in reports of riots in Newtownabbey, a northern suburb of Belfast.
A video posted on Twitter by the Police Federation of Northern Ireland showed four masked personnel throwing petrol bombs at close range in an armored police car. They also kicked and punched.
On Friday, a small protest took place in the Sandy Street area of Belfast, where 1
Injuries included burns, head injuries and broken legs, leading to the arrest and prosecution of seven people, two of whom were 13 and 14 years old. Twelve police officers were injured in a riot in Londonderry on Friday.
Other political parties on Saturday accused Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, of resolutely opposing the new trade arrangements, adding to tensions.
Gerry Kelly, a member of the pro-Irish Sinn Finn Party, said in a statement: “Through words and deeds, they send a very dangerous message to young people in faithful areas.”
DUP MP Christopher Stalford said that after prosecutors chose not to prosecute any member of Sinn Fein, the rioters “acted helplessly” because they were suspected of violating COVID-19 restrictions .
DUP asked the head of the police force to resign on this issue.
23 years after the peace agreement largely ended a thirty-year bloody conflict, this British-ruled area is still deeply divided in the direction of sectarianism. Many Catholic nationalists aspire to unite with Ireland, while Protestant unionists want to stay in England.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Daniel Wallis)