In the past few days there have been repeated violent clashes in Northern Ireland. Youngsters attacked police officers with stones and Molotov cocktails.
Violent riots broke out in several locations in Northern Ireland over the Easter weekend. Groups of mostly teenagers repeatedly pelted the police with stones, bottles, fireworks and Molotov cocktails, the authorities in Northern Ireland announced several nights in a row.
In Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus near Belfast, the rioters set fire to cars and garbage cans. So far, almost 30 police officers have been injured in the clashes.
Conflict between Irish and pro-British forces
The background to the riots are political tensions between the pro-British unionists and the supporters of a united Ireland and the police. In the past few days there had been a dispute over the fact that members of the Sinn Fein party, which campaigns for a unified Ireland, had attended the funeral of a former leading member of the IRA terrorist movement last year, possibly disregarding corona rules. The police are also under criticism for their supposedly too weak crackdown.
In addition, the special rules and goods controls that have been in force in Northern Ireland since Brexit have repeatedly caused complications and disputes in the former civil war region. Unionists fear that Northern Ireland as a province in the UK will become increasingly disconnected and disadvantaged.
Northern Ireland Minister: “Violence is never the answer”
Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis condemned the violence as “totally unacceptable”. “Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in our society,” said Lewis. The pro-British unionists and representatives of Sinn Fein also urged calm. However, several politicians in the party criticized the unionists for having increased political tensions through their rhetoric.
The police called for calm and asked parents to be careful that their children did not participate in violent riots. According to reports, 12 to 14-year-olds were also said to have been part of the riots at the weekend.