A bus was set on fire in Belfast, stones thrown at police and a press photographer assaulted in an attack condemned by all sides

The Northern Ireland executive will meet on Thursday morning to be briefed on the ongoing unrest after a bus was hijacked and set on fire in Belfast during a sixth consecutive night of violence

The vehicle was set on fire in an intersectional area between Nationalist and Unionist communities, the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) said Stones were thrown at police as a press photographer was assaulted on the job Wednesday evening at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in West Belfast

Tires and garbage cans were set on fire near Lanark Way interface gates, which open into a wall that separates the two communities PSNI said it closed the gates and advised people to avoid the area

Northern Ireland leaders will meet to be briefed on the violence at 10 a.m., an hour before Stormont’s assembly recall to discuss the unrest

Northern Ireland’s Prime Minister Arlene Foster condemned Wednesday’s attack, tweeting: ‘There is no justification for the violence. It is wrong and should stop’

Foster said the protests “do not represent unionism or loyalty,” adding: “They are a disgrace to Northern Ireland and only serve to distract from real law breakers in Sinn Fein”

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein said the executive would be briefed on “the violence and street unrest which is currently causing enormous distress in local communities”

“Those involved in violence, criminal damage, manipulation of our young people and attacks on the police must stop,” O’Neill said

Boris Johnson also condemned the violence The Prime Minister tweeted: “I am deeply concerned about the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, in particular the attacks on the PSNI which protects the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and assault of a journalist The way to resolve disputes is through dialogue and not through violence or criminality “

Johnson’s Irish counterpart called on leaders in Dublin, Belfast and London to join forces to end the violence Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said: “I wholeheartedly condemn the violent attacks on the police, a journalist and a bus driver in recent days in the North The time has come for the two governments and leaders of all stripes to work together to defuse tensions and restore calm “

Images circulating on Twitter appeared to show the bus bombed with gasoline while still in motion, with a dozen masked people – some of whom appeared to be children – cheered as they fled the scene The driver would not have been injured

Stormont Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon told the BBC the bus driver was “shaken up” but “luckily he was not injured and luckily there was no passenger in this bus »

A photographer was also attacked, tweeting that he was “jumped from behind by two masked men… one pulled me to the ground and crushed the cameras @beltel [Belfast Telegraph]”

Foster called the attack “shameful”, expressing hope that the “bullies behind it will be brought to justice”

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, who has been called on to resign, said the ongoing street mess must end

He tweeted: “I am open to dialogue with anyone who is willing to work with me to address the issues facing our community. My message to those involved in the violence tonight is to get home before anyone ‘one is seriously injured, violence is not the answer “

The Loyalists’ rally at Lanark Way was staged via social media, with Facebook posts shared on other platforms Dozens of young people in dark clothing gathered after 5 p.m., watched by others who appeared to have come for the show An elderly woman came in a bathrobe

Some young people set fire to the middle of the road while others picked up stones and distributed petrol bombs shortly before the bus attack

Youth from the adjacent Nationalist area of ​​Springfield Road had been monitoring Loyalist social media posts and responded with their own barrage of stones and bottles in a Loyalist neighborhood, prompting more than a dozen Land Police rover to close interface

“He should be nipped in the bud,” said Cailin McCaffery, 25, a postgraduate researcher, as black smoke billows over his head “The fear is that the disruptions will get worse We don’t want to relive what our parents went through “

Since last Friday there has been nighttime violence in parts of Northern Ireland, including Belfast, Derry and parts of County Antrim, fueled by loyalists’ anger over a recent decision not to prosecute the leaders of Sinn Féin for attending a mass funeral

The Democratic Unionist Party has expressed its fury at the move, with Foster, its leader, saying it reflects a rule for Sinn Féin and another for ordinary voters who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and could not attend the funeral

Others put the blame on people’s anger over Brexit, with Stormont Justice Secretary Naomi Long saying Boris Johnson’s ‘dishonesty’ over Brexit border controls has ignited the situation

The Northern Ireland Police Services Board was briefed on the violence and unrest by Byrne on Wednesday

In a statement, NIPB Chairman Doug Garrett said it was “truly shocking that in a short period of time 41 officers were injured” and said it was “without question of concern that so many young people have been drawn into the attacks on the police and the consequences criminalization can have on their lives ”

Garrett called for “redoubling efforts to calm tensions and continue dialogue between the community and the police at all levels of the PSNI”

In an interview with the Guardian’s Politics Weekly podcast, the EU Ambassador said he understood the “sensitivities” and the “delicate and volatile situation in Northern Ireland”, which he visited the last year

He said that the EU was “fully engaged in a constructive way to find solutions to these problems”, but that this had to be “within the limits of the protocol that we agreed not long ago”

Northern Ireland

World News – UK – Northern Ireland leader to meet after sixth night of unrest

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/apr/07/bus-set-on-fire-in-belfast-on-sixth-night-of-unrest-in-northern-ireland