BELFAST (Reuters) – The decentralized government of Northern Ireland will meet to be briefed on nightly outbreaks of street violence which escalated on Wednesday with sectarian clashes, continued attacks on police and the fire of a hijacked bus

The violence comes amid growing frustration among many pro-UK trade unionists over new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK which many believe could spark violent protests

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is “deeply concerned” by the violence, which has injured dozens of police officers in recent days. His Irish counterpart, Micheál Martin, called on Dublin, London and all parts of Ireland of the North to work together to ease tensions and restore calm

The UK-led region’s decentralized executive, a compulsory power-sharing coalition led by Irish nationalists and their Unionist rivals, will meet later Thursday to discuss the clashes, the deputy premier said Minister Michelle O’Neill

“Those involved in the violence, criminal damage, manipulation of our young people and attacks on the police must stop,” O’Neill of the Irish Nationalist Party Sinn Fein said on Twitter on Wednesday

Crowds of young people in a pro-British part of Belfast torched the hijacked bus on a busy street on Wednesday around 6:00 p.m. GMT The driver and passengers are unharmed

The incident took place near one of Belfast’s so-called ‘peace walls’ which divides some Irish nationalist and unionist communities Large groups threw fireworks, bricks and gasoline bombs at each side of the large structure

Parts of the region remain deeply divided along sectarian lines, 23 years after a peace deal largely ended three decades of bloodshed Many Catholic nationalists yearn for unification with the ‘Ireland while Protestant trade unionists want to stay in UK

While politicians of all stripes condemned the clashes on Wednesday, Northern Ireland’s main ruling parties blamed each other for it

Sinn Fein and others have accused Prime Minister Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of stoking tensions with their staunch opposition to new trade barriers which many trade unionists say are erasing part of their identity

The DUP in turn highlighted the police decision not to prosecute Irish nationalists Sinn Fein over a large funeral last year which violated COVID-19 regulations They also called the police chief to ‘Northern Ireland to resign on this issue

Northern Ireland

World News – GB – Government of Northern Ireland to meet as riots escalate