British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for calm in Northern Ireland on Wednesday evening after a group of young people in a pro-British part of the Northern Irish capital Belfast hijacked and set fire to a bus. The rioters also attacked the police.
Wednesday’s disturbances are the last in a series that began last week. In the pro-British community in Northern Ireland there is anger over new trade barriers with the rest of the United Kingdom as a result of Brexit.
The pro-British political party DUP is also angered by the decision not to prosecute the Irish nationalist organisation Sinn Féin after a well-attended funeral which did not comply with the coronavirus rules last year. Sinn Féin, once associated with the Irish nationalist movement IRA, blames the DUP for further exacerbating tensions in Northern Ireland by opposing the new trade agreements.
The Northern Irish police say that the violence of the last few days has been fuelled by “criminal elements”. Wednesday’s riots took place at Shankill Road, near a wall that separates a traditionally pro-British neighbourhood from a pro-Irish neighbourhood.
“I am deeply concerned about the violence in Northern Ireland,” Johnson writes on Twitter. “Disputes are solved by dialogue, not by violence or Crime.”
Both the DUP and Sinn Féin leaders have condemned the violence of recent days. In the tweet condemning the pro-British youth for vandalism, DUP captain Arlene Foster also lashes out at Sinn Féin, according to her “the real lawbreakers”.