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World Belfast in turmoil as Brexit stokes tensions in Northern Ireland

08:05  09 april  2021
08:05  09 april  2021 Source:   afp.com

Brexit Antagonism Escalates as EU, U.K. Go Another Round

  Brexit Antagonism Escalates as EU, U.K. Go Another Round When the U.K. and European Union shook hands on a trade deal late last year, few expected the new relationship to be plain sailing. And as with many divorces, antagonism between the sides has refused to fade. © Bloomberg Graffiti on a building reads "No Irish Sea border" in the Sandy Row area in Belfast, U.K., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. On Tuesday, U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove condemned the EU's threat to impose border checks on Northern Ireland, warning it had provoked anger on all sides of the political divide.

Tensions have boiled over. A bus was hijacked and set on fire Wednesday in Belfast as crowds of youths hurled stones and gasoline bombs at police. Dozens of officers were injured, and several people were arrested. A photojournalist from the Belfast Telegraph newspaper was assaulted while covering the protests. " Brexit is a huge transformation. So essentially, the peace process in Northern Ireland relied on a careful balance between Britain and Ireland , Northern Ireland being both British and Irish and within the EU. That was possible not just in economic and legal terms, obviously following the

Northern Ireland ’s devolved government put aside factional differences on Thursday to appeal for calm amid an outbreak of unrest, as Brexit shakes a fragile political balance in the region. On Wednesday, in the fourth night of violence in a week, rioters hijacked a bus and set it on fire and hurled petrol Preserving peace in Northern Ireland without allowing the UK a back door into the EU’s markets through the 310-mile (500km) UK-Irish land border was one of the thorniest issues of Brexit divorce talks. The arrangement eventually hammered out by London and Brussels was designed to avoid

Rioters waged a running battle with police in Belfast on Thursday night -- tossing petrol bombs, setting fires and dodging jets from water cannon as a week of unrest showed no sign of letting up.

a street filled with traffic at night: A week of unrest in Northern Ireland showed no sign of letting up Thursday night © Paul Faith A week of unrest in Northern Ireland showed no sign of letting up Thursday night map: Factfile on the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement. © Christopher HUFFAKER Factfile on the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement.

Hundreds of boys and young men gathered from early evening in a western neighbourhood in the Northern Ireland capital, which has been riven by violence over Brexit and domestic politics.

a group of people walking in the rain: Hundreds of young men and boys gathered from early evening in a western Belfast neighbourhood © Paul Faith Hundreds of young men and boys gathered from early evening in a western Belfast neighbourhood

Masked and in hooded tops, they hurled rocks, bricks and glass bottles at police barricades where riot officers formed ranks with armoured Land Rovers.

N Ireland sees 3rd night of unrest amid post-Brexit tensions

  N Ireland sees 3rd night of unrest amid post-Brexit tensions LONDON (AP) — Police and politicians in Northern Ireland appealed for calm on Monday after a third night of violence that saw Protestant youths start fires and pelt officers with bricks and gasoline bombs. The flareups come amid rising tensions over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland and worsening relations between the parties in the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing Belfast government. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said officers were attacked in Londonderry on Sunday night, and there was also unrest in two pro-British unionist areas near Belfast. Police said most of those involved were teenagers.

Crowds in Belfast set a hijacked bus on fire with petrol bombs and hurled stones at police as unrest continued in the region. The British prime minister expressed his deep concern over the violence. They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland ," DUP leader Arlene Foster wrote in a Twitter post that went on to describe rivals Sinn Fein as "the real law breakers." Sinn Fein in turn blamed the DUP for stoking tensions with their staunch opposition to new Brexit -mandated trading arrangements.

Northern Ireland 's executive has said it is "united behind law and order" after consecutive nights of "deplorable" violence. On Thursday evening, a spokesperson for US President Joe Biden called for calm. "We are concerned by the violence in Northern Ireland and we join the British, Irish and Northern Irish leaders in their calls for calm we remain steadfast supporters of a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard won peace peace," said press secretary Jen Psak. "We welcome the provisions in both the EU and UK trade and

Petrol bombs burst into flames in the street and fireworks were aimed into police formations, exploding and smothering their lines in thick smoke.

Behind riot shields and with batons drawn, police drove back the surging crowds late into Thursday night, as locals peered out of their windows to witness the spectacle.

When one group tried to push a vandalised car into the police barricades, a lumbering water cannon forced them away with powerful spraying jets.

a man standing on a rainy night: Masked and in hooded tops, rioters hurled rocks, bricks and glass bottles at police barricades © Paul Faith Masked and in hooded tops, rioters hurled rocks, bricks and glass bottles at police barricades

A police loudhailer warned crowds to disperse or face arrest. 

"Force may be used," the female voice rang out.

Northern Ireland was the site of "The Troubles" sectarian conflict, which wound down in 1998 -- but Brexit has been partially blamed for igniting old tensions.

UK PM urges calm as Belfast protesters hijack bus, attack police

  UK PM urges calm as Belfast protesters hijack bus, attack police UK PM urges calm as Belfast protesters hijack bus, attack policeBELFAST (Reuters) -Crowds of youths in a pro-British area of Belfast set a hijacked bus on fire and attacked police with stones in the latest of a series of nightly outbreaks of violence that began last week.

Mr. Caine said that in Northern Ireland policing decisions are particularly difficult given the risk of stoking disorder, and that the security forces can be placed in an impossible position. Nonetheless the lack of prosecutions “played into the feeling among some Unionists that it is one rule for Sinn Fein But tensions had also been building since Britain completed the final stages of Brexit on Jan. 1. That ended a system under which companies in Northern Ireland shared the same trade rules as those of Ireland , which remains part of the European Union. During the interminable Brexit negotiations, much

A crisis meeting of Northern Ireland ’s power-sharing executive is being held today after a night of clashes in the city of Belfast that saw police officers attacked, petrol bombs thrown and a bus set on fire. But all sides accept Brexit is at least partly to blame. The deal Johnson signed with the European Union put Northern Ireland in a unique and potentially uncomfortable position — legally part of the U.K. but still inside the EU’s customs regime and much of the single market for the purposes of trade.

a group of fireworks in the sky: Riot police formed ranks with armoured Land Rovers, as fireworks and petrol bombs were thrown at them © Paul Faith Riot police formed ranks with armoured Land Rovers, as fireworks and petrol bombs were thrown at them

The unrest started last week in the pro-UK unionist community, where tensions are high because of new post-Brexit rules some feel are dividing the region from Britain.


Video: Protesters hurl petrol bombs at police in Northern Ireland amid Brexit tensions (NBC News)

But the pro-Ireland nationalist community has begun to respond in scenes like those of Thursday night.

Nationalist and unionist communities in Belfast are often separated by towering "peace walls" to guard against projectiles.

On Wednesday there were ugly scenes when warring groups from unionist and nationalist communities faced off at a gate in the peace wall between their neighbourhoods.

The doors are etched with a slogan reading: "There was never a good war or a bad peace."

Northern Ireland government to meet as riots escalate

  Northern Ireland government to meet as riots escalate Northern Ireland government to meet as riots escalateThe violence comes amid growing frustration among many pro-British unionists at new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom that many warned could be a trigger violent protests.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, has flown to Belfast for emergency talks to calm tensions as police revealed that around 600 people were involved in disturbances on Wednesday, in what they described as a scale of violence not seen for decades. With parts of Belfast scarred and amid a “It is Northern Ireland ’s deep misfortune that the person who bears a shared responsibility for safeguarding the agreement has placed such little value on his words, and has shown such little regard for the consequences of his decisions. “To make a promise as he did when he stood up in Northern

(CNN) Violent clashes in Northern Ireland erupted over the weekend amid increasing tensions in a region historically plagued with sectarian violence. Sunday marked a third night of disorder in the cities of Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, where police were targeted with petrol bombs and cars hijacked The clashes involved children as young as 12, according to a statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). On Saturday night 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police in Newtownabbey, Belfast and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire, police said, in what they described as an

But the gates were pried open and rioters traded missiles in vicious confrontations.

- Spiralling situation - 

"It's deep rooted, it's not just about Brexit although Brexit has done something as well obviously," Belfast native Fiona McMahon told AFP earlier on Thursday.

"We have been scuppered big time," she said, voicing the sense of exasperation many here feel over Britain's split from the EU.

The rising unrest has caused a political crisis in Northern Ireland, with the regional assembly recalled to address the violence on Thursday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin and US President Joe Biden have all called for calm.

Meanwhile police have pleaded to those with "influence" in the community to hold back the crowds from participating in riots.

On Thursday dozens of older men and women stood at the gates where violence had flared the previous night and refused to let rioters approach.

A small number of men dismantled a fire being started and blocked others approaching the gate with projectiles.

Two amongst the crowd told AFP they were concerned figures from the surrounding community -- a sign that those who still remember "The Troubles" are unwilling to let the region slide back into its dark past.

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Brexit Britain’s Biggest Test Might Be the Ability to Survive .
Leaving the EU has hardened the divisions between the U.K.’s constituent nations and there’s a growing sense that things will come to a head.Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a fondness for grand projects, but few are as eye-catching as the proposal for a physical link over the Irish Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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This is interesting!