INTL NI Unionist Party ( The DUP Party) aims to undermine Northern Ireland Protocol [EU having a meltdown] not a dup but new story

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I have asked the mods to change the title of my older thread where I have been updating on this, including at least three articles this morning.

I don't really care if we use my old thread and update the title or a new one.

Basically, as the three articles I posted this morning show, what I was afraid would happen is happening with local complications.

The Ulster-Scotts (Unionist/former known as Protestants) are furious at being treated differently from the rest of the UK during BREXIT after they were told they would be treated the same - it is so bad now that many UK retailers simply won't ship to Northern Ireland at all causing all shorts of shortages and problems.

The Old Republican (formerly Catholic) vs Unionist (Protestant) hatreds and divide never really went away, it was just as long as everyone was in the EU both sides could "play pretend" the Republicans could pretend they lived in a United Ireland and get Irish passports, the Unionists could pretend they lived in the United Kingdom and have British ones (many people had and have both).

Now the "pretend" has been ripped away, there are local issues such as the "Republican" (aka IRA) funeral that a bunch of Republican politicians attended and violated COVID rules. About two weeks ago a decision was made not to prosecute them and the Unionist "thugs" decided to use that as part of their excuse to keep rioting.

Now of course, especially after last night, the Republican "thugs" are now fighting in the streets with the Unionist ones - the PC term is "paramilitary" but I think thug is probably more accurate for what is going on right now (on both sides).

Hijacking buses, burning cars, throwing small Molotov cocktails at police, injuring 40 police officers with everything from rocks to who knows what; yep it is heating up fast.

And sadly, it probably won't be long before the full civil war is back on up there - I have no good solutions, once this gets started it has and will take on a life of its own.

The only thing that stopped "The Troubles" before was a combination of people who were sick of them after a couple of horrifically despicable acts, and it was rumored the Brits told the Unionist Northern Irish "we can't afford to pay to police a civil war anymore, either make peace or we are leaving; enjoy your lives as a minority in either a United Ireland or in a tiny independent country of Northern Ireland."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
The other thread: again mods please change the name if you can to something like "The Main Northern Irish Thread" or we can merge the old thread with this one - but I would like to keep this mostly in one place.

 

Scrapman

Veteran Member
I think their pissed at the European union and there own politicians for obeying the European union's laws . The EU is still running the customs and trade. And causing food and essential shortages.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I think their pissed at the European union and there own politicians for obeying the European union's laws . The EU is still running the customs and trade. And causing food and essential shortages.
That is one of the official reasons (and the EU has done further damage with insane amounts of paperwork and things like refusing to allow "English Dirt" in Northern Ireland on plants or farming equipment).

But the real issues go back a few hundred years, I've talked about some of them in the other thread - which again I'm hoping the mods will either combine with this one or change the name of.

It goes back to when England wanted more "compliant" peasants and forced thousands of Protestant ones from Scotland to resettle in Northern Ireland (often involuntarily) and then for the next several hundred years they got preferential treatment from the English overlords.

In the 1970s - The Troubles started when the Catholic (Republican) Minority got tired of the situation and the Ulster-Scots Protestants were not very happy either and centuries of hatred resulted in mass violence.

As I said before, this hatred never really went away; but it was dimmed down for a generation by the Peace Accords which worked, as long as everyone was in the EU and could pretend their version of reality was the correct one.

Now the reality is really forced in to bite and the civil war looks to be heating up again - for now, it is mostly being expressed by young people/street thugs and teenagers, but it probably won't stay that way for long unless a way can be found to deescalate the situatoin.

I don't really see how that happens, because for England to just tell the EU to take a hike and ignore the EU "rules" means the EU will try to force a hard border on the Island which neither the Republic nor Northern Ireland wants either (and would probably need another military force to police if they tried it).

There may be an all-Ireland vote on reunification in the next couple of years, but if so I have no idea if there is enough support for it in the North for that to work (that would take Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and put it back in with the rest of the Irish Republic).
 

Squid

Veteran Member
I love how the narrative ‘Brexit bad’ keeps getting played. Yes the messy divorce plays a part but N Ireland was a tool by EU and the depth of animosity in N Ireland has nothing to do with Brussel’s.

Unrest coming to a town near you if Soro’s and the CCP has any say.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
the whole flippin world has gone stupid
This was totally predictable and anyone familiar with the situation knew it was probably coming. It hasn't helped that Borish Johnson just seems to keep ignoring the situation as if it will go away....
NI scenes not seen 'for a very long time' - Coveney
Updated / Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 12:33

A clean-up operation under way this morning on the Shankill Road

A clean-up operation under way this morning on the Shankill Road

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has condemned the ongoing unrest in Northern Ireland, saying that the violence needs to stop before somebody is killed.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said responsibility to defuse the tensions "has to start at the top with political leadership".

Last night saw a bus hijacked and set on fire, a press photographer assaulted and clashes between loyalists and nationalists at a peace line street that links the Shankill Road with the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

At least seven PSNI officers were injured, according to the Police Federation of Northern Ireland.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said 55 officers in total have been injured during rioting in recent days.


Mr Coveney said it is a time of "real tension" in Northern Ireland and political leaders need to respond by coming together rather than having a go at each other.

"This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured," he said.

"These are scenes we haven't seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history and I think there needs to be a collective effort to try to defuse tension."



Mr Coveney said while a collective effort is needed, a statement from the Irish Government is not going to calm tension in many loyalist communities, but has "got to come from the unionist community".

"Obviously the Irish Government will play their part in doing that as best they can," he added.



Read more:
Bus petrol-bombed in further Belfast violence



He said that seeing attempts to incite a response at an interface area to try to spread the violence beyond the loyalist community into the nationalist community is worrying.

The unrest has been attributed to tension in loyalist communities over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI's handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Féin politicians at the funeral last year of senior republican Bobby Storey.

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service announced last week that it had decided not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians, including Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, over their attendance at the funeral.

Unionists have accused the PSNI leadership of facilitating the funeral and the breaking of the law, and Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster has called on Mr Byrne to resign.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said he hopes that there will be a collective call for calm from political leaders and to dial down the rhetoric and give leadership to the community at this time.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, he reiterated the DUP's lack of confidence in Mr Byrne, adding that the violence can and must stop whether or not the Chief Constable resigns.


On Tuesday, Mrs Foster said she had no plans to speak to the Chief Constable, however, Mr Campbell said he believes she will meet him, but added she will be pointing out the "uncomfortable truth that there isn't confidence in his ability to impartially discharge his duties".

Police Federation chair Mark Lindsay said the officers injured last night sustained injuries to lower limbs and some concussion.

"Obviously my thoughts are with them this morning, but we're probably going to see some more injuries documented as the day goes on."

Mr Lindsay said the violence was "disturbing" and escalated a "couple of notches" from the disorder witnessed over previous days.



SDLP MP for South Belfast Claire Hanna said now is not a time for "finger pointing", but about bringing calm and clarity to Northern Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher Hayes programme, she said the sustained violence is designed to provoke a response, and a clear message needs to be given that lawlessness is wrong.

"There is an opportunity to take a grip and be honest and open with people about what needs to happen from here."

She said the conversation needs to be "reset" because of the worrying situation.

Speaking on the same programme, Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson called for "young people to desist in violence" in Northern Ireland.

He said the anger that has led to rioting and unrest stems "from a political problem which needs a political solution".

He called on unionist politicians in the North to "give the same single message".

"We don't want people to be hurt and we don't want young people to end up with criminal records."

Labour leader Alan Kelly described the statement as "dangerous, worrying and embarrassing all in one", and
said it "encapsulates so much what the DUP priorities really are".


The scenes of violence last night flooded social media and prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to appeal for calm.



He tweeted: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."




Taoiseach Micheál Martin has condemned the violence, saying the only way forward is to address issues of concern through peaceful and democratic means.

In a statement, Mr Martin said the attacks yesterday evening on a journalist and a bus driver were "deeply concerning and in no one's interest".



He said: "Now is the time for the two governments and leaders on all sides to work together to defuse tensions and restore calm.

"My Government has listened to and will continue to listen to and engage with the views of all communities in Northern Ireland. But the way to address genuine issues of concern is through peaceful and democratic means."


The European Commission has also called for an end to the violence in Northern Ireland.

Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters in Brussels: "We of course condemn in the strongest possible terms the acts of violence that have occurred in Northern Ireland over the past days.

"Nobody has anything to gain from this.

"We call on all those involved to refrain immediately from these violent acts."

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said political parties in Northern Ireland need to "get their act together strongly" to stop the violence.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher Hayes he also said the Irish and British governments should hold a meeting as part of efforts to address the unrest.

He said a meeting should happen at leaders level between British and Irish governments as they are the co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement.

He said while both have issued statements on the violence, he believes "proper discussions" would help.

Mr Ahern said actions need to happen on a number of fronts to deal with the current unrest.

He said the parties in the North need to come together and not only condemn the violence but find a pathway forward.

"Parties need to dial it down fairly fast and work together."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
NI leaders jointly condemn 'unacceptable and unjustifiable' violence
Updated / Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 12:33

At least seven PSNI officers were injured in the latest night of unrest

At least seven PSNI officers were injured in the latest night of unrest



The Northern Ireland Executive has jointly condemned the violence over recent days across parts of the region and has called for calm to be restored and an end to violent protests.

At a special meeting this morning, Stormont Ministers were updated by Chief Constable of the PSNI Simon Byrne on the situation.

A joint statement from the Executive following the meeting read: "We are gravely concerned by the scenes we have all witnessed on our streets over the last week, including those at the Lanark Way interface last night. Attacks on police officers, public services and communities are deplorable and they must stop.

"Destruction, violence and the threat of violence are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable, no matter what concerns may exist in communities."

It said that those who would "seek to use and abuse our children and young people to carry out these attacks have no place in our society".

"While our political positions are very different on many issues, we are all united in our support for law and order and we collectively state our support for policing and for the police officers who have been putting themselves in harm's way to protect others."

All five political parties involved in the Northern Ireland Executive were in attendance at the meeting.

Addressing the Executive, First Minister Arlene Foster said the scenes witnessed across Northern Ireland were "totally unacceptable".

Ms Foster said the injuries to police officers, harm to Northern Ireland's image and people's property has taken the region backwards.


"Today is not the time to rehearse the arguments in the last few weeks. We should all know that when politics are perceived to fail, those who fill the vacuum cause despair.

"Northern Ireland faces deep political challenges ahead."

She said that the future requires political leadership.

She said no brick or petrol bomb thrown can achieve anything but destruction or harm and fear and thanked community leaders and others who have tried to ease tensions.

Ms Foster, who had said she would not meet with Simon Byrne, this morning said she has spoken to him.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said was saddened that this debate was needed.

"I think it's incumbent upon us all as Assembly members, as political leaders to meet and to publicly express our deep concern at the recent violence and ongoing street disorder," she said.

Ms O'Neill described the scenes in Belfast as a "very dangerous escalation of events in recent days, and it is utterly deplorable".

She said she had spoken earlier with PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, who also briefed a special meeting of the Executive on the police response.




Read more:
NI violence must stop 'before somebody is killed' - Coveney
Bus petrol-bombed in further Belfast violence


Northern Ireland's Justice Minister Naomi Long said it was particularly disturbing to see another generation of young people, some as young as 12, involved in violent confrontations with the police.

The leader of the Alliance party also described her horror in watching adults standing by and cheering and encouraging young people on as they wreak havoc in their own community.

"This is nothing short of child abuse."

She said while there are many theories as to why this violence has erupted, there can be no excuse or justification for what has taken place.

"Our condemnation of such violence must be unequivocal."

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken told the meeting that the riots were "completely unacceptable".

"Organised criminal gangs bringing out children, young people and others to commit acts of destruction helps no-one and no cause," he told the Assembly.

"The imagery this portrays of 21st century Northern Ireland into our second century is not something that anyone should want to see.

"This violence must stop before anyone is killed.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she met the PSNI Chief Constable this morning.

She said that "those stoking up tensions at interfaces must be faced down".

"Ongoing orchestrated violence must end. Those inflicting violence held to account. Politics leaders must speak with one voice."


Last night saw a bus hijacked and set on fire, a press photographer assaulted and clashes between loyalists and nationalists at a peace line street that links the Shankill Road with the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

At least seven PSNI officers were injured, according to the Police Federation of Northern Ireland.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said 55 officers in total have been injured during rioting in recent days.



The unrest has been attributed to tension in loyalist communities over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI's handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Féin politicians at the funeral last year of senior republican Bobby Storey.

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service announced last week that it had decided not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians, including Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, over their attendance at the funeral.

Unionists have accused the PSNI leadership of facilitating the funeral and the breaking of the law, and Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster has called on Mr Byrne to resign.

Additional reporting Vincent Kearney
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat

Belfast riots news – live:
‘Absent’ Boris Johnson must call talks, says Starmer after seven officers injured


Zoe Tidman
,
Matt Mathers
@MattEm90


Riot police arrive on scene in Belfast as riots erupt for sixth night
Boris Johnson must immediately hold cross-party talks aimed at bringing an end to the violence that has gripped some parts of Northern Ireland over the past week, Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour Party leader accused the prime minister of being "absent" during several consecutive nights of disorder that has left 55 police officers injured.

The Northern Ireland executive met this morning for a briefing on the violence and the Stormont Assembly debated a motion to condemn recent scenes of disorder in mainly loyalist areas.

Violent scenes including attacks on police, petrol bombings and rioting have taken place repeatedly on the streets of Belfast and Derry throughout the past week.

The unrest has been attributed to tension in loyalist communities over the Northern Ireland protocol on Brexit - which has created economic barriers between the region and the rest of the UK - and the police’s handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.

The violence continued on Wednesday night, when a bus was set on fire, a press photographer assaulted and clashes between loyalists and nationalists at peace line street that links the Shankill Road with the Springfield Road in west Belfast.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Northern Ireland executive holds emergency meeting over unrest
Chief constable briefs party leaders after another night of riots in Belfast increases political crisis

The remains of a burnt-out bus on the loyalist Shankill Road in Belfast on Thursday
The remains of a burnt-out bus on the loyalist Shankill Road in Belfast on Thursday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent
@rorycarroll72
Thu 8 Apr 2021 11.31 BST

8
Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive is holding an emergency meeting in Stormont after another night of riots scarred parts of Belfast and ratcheted up a political crisis.

Simon Byrne, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, briefed party leaders on the security situation on Thursday before a debate at the assembly, which has been recalled from its Easter break.

There were reports that loyalists are planning fresh protests this weekend, a prospect that will alarm the British and Irish governments.

Arlene Foster, the first minister and Democratic Unionist party (DUP) leader, spoke with Byrne, marking a sharp turnaround from her refusal to meet him earlier this week despite escalating violence.

The DUP has demanded the chief constable’s resignation over policing of republican funerals but Foster did not repeat that demand in a tweet after the meeting. She condemned the violence as unjustified and unjustifiable. “Those responsible must be subject to the full rigour of the law,” she said.


Seven officers were injured on Wednesday night when masked youths in the loyalist Shankill Road area hurled petrol bombs and rocks and sent a burning, empty bus careering down the street. Kevin Scott, a Belfast Telegraph photographer, was assaulted and his camera smashed.

Youths on the adjacent nationalist Springfield Road hurled missiles over a “peace wall” on to the loyalist side, triggering a fusillade in response. Mobs skirmished when one of the gates in the wall was prised open and set alight.

“Calm is needed on BOTH sides of the gates before we are looking at a tragedy. These are scenes we hoped had been confined to history,” the Police Federation tweeted.

At least 55 police officers have been wounded during seven consecutive nights of disturbances, with trouble switching between Belfast, Derry, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus.

Protesters in Belfast hijack bus and set it on fire – video
00:39
Protesters in Belfast hijack bus and set it on fire – video
Loyalist anger at policing, a perception of nationalist ascendance and the consequences of Brexit, along with criminal gang activity, have fuelled the riots. It is among the worst rioting since the 2013 flag protests and comes as Northern Ireland prepares to mark the centenary of its foundation dating from the 1921 partition of Ireland.

Unionist parties have been accused of tacitly encouraging unrest by demanding the resignation of the chief constable over the force’s alleged favouritism to Sinn Féin during the policing of republican funerals, notably that of Bobby Storey, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, including Sinn Féin leaders, last June during lockdown restrictions.

Critics have accused the DUP of stoking the controversy to deflect loyalist anger over the party’s role in the creation of a trade border down the Irish Sea. The justice minister, Naomi Long of the Alliance party, said “dishonesty” over Brexit had fuelled resentment.

Youths interviewed during protests in Newtownabbey and the Shankill Road on Thursday cited the sea border, alleged police bias and a sense that Protestants had become second-class citizens as the reasons they were carrying rocks and bottles. In some cases older men appeared to be directing them but it is unclear if major paramilitary groups were involved.

The Irish and British governments expressed grave concern at the attacks on police, the bus driver and the photographer. “The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality,” Boris Johnson tweeted.

Some in Westminster urged the prime minister to visit Northern Ireland. Louise Haigh, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said Johnson needed to step up to protect a “fragile” peace process.

“This moment demands leadership. The prime minister must convene cross-party talks in Northern Ireland, and engage with the joint custodians to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, the Irish government to find solutions and address tensions.”

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said political leaders needed to come together to cool tensions.

“This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured,” he told RTE. “These are scenes we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history and I think there needs to be a collective effort to try to defuse tension.”
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
part of a long-long UK Daily Mail article with lots of pictures - best seen at the link
Loyalists and Catholics toss petrol bombs at each other over the 'Peace Wall' as violence escalates in Belfast: Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster condemn 'deeply concerning' scenes
  • Rioters hurled petrol bombs at police in the west of the city and attacked a press photographer late last night
  • The youths hurled Molotov cocktails over some of the peace barriers into Catholic areas - which returned fire
  • Hundreds of others marched along the main streets under supervision from police as tension mounted in city
  • Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster were quick to condemn the violence, with PM last night calling for 'dialogue'
  • Northern Ireland Executive called a meeting of politicians on Thursday morning to be briefed on the mayhem
By JAMES GANT and FAITH RIDLER FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 01:42, 8 April 2021 | UPDATED: 12:34, 8 April 2021



Protestants and Catholics last night tossed petrol bombs at each other over a 'Peace Wall' as violence escalated on a sixth night of rioting in Belfast.


Loyalist youths hurled Molotov cocktails over an interface into nationalist areas - which returned fire - and lit blazes in the streets as police struggled to maintain order.

Unionist thugs also hijacked and firebombed a bus and sent it blazing down the Shankill Road while hundreds of others marched along the street in scenes reminiscent of the Troubles.

Meanwhile masked rioters hurled petrol bombs at police at the junction of Lanark Way and attacked a press photographer - smashing his camera and shouting derogatory sectarian terms at him.

The PSNI said on Thursday morning 55 of its officers had been injured across several nights of disorder in the country.
Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster were quick to condemn the actions, with the PM calling for 'dialogue' while the DUP leader said there is 'no justification for violence'.

The Northern Ireland Executive called an urgent meeting of politicians on Thursday morning to be briefed on the mayhem and released a joint statement deploring the destruction.

The violence over the past week erupted after prosecutors said no action would be taken against 24 Sinn Fein politicians - including deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill - for a huge republican funeral during the pandemic.

They went to the service to Bobby Storey - an IRA terrorist from Belfast who died after a failed lung transplant - on June 30 along with about 1,500 people despite Covid rules.

Loyalists are also angry at post-Brexit trading arrangements that have created economic barriers between the region and the rest of the UK. They see the Northern Ireland Protocol as undermining their place in the Union.



A bus was hijacked and set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said. Pictured: Belfast last night


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A bus was hijacked and set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said. Pictured: Belfast last night
One rioter prepares to hurl a projectile into the bus


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Others join in and firebomb the vehicle


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Left: One rioter prepares to hurl a projectile into the bus. Right: Others join in and firebomb the vehicle, which quickly ignites
Videos circulating online show a bus being pelted with petrol bombs and having its windows smashed where a crowd of people had gathered


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Videos circulating online show a bus being pelted with petrol bombs and having its windows smashed where a crowd of people had gathered

An Irish nationalist stands in smoke close to a fire at the 'peace wall' gates into Lanark Way as protests continued in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last night


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An Irish nationalist stands in smoke close to a fire at the 'peace wall' gates into Lanark Way as protests continued in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last night
A PSNI officer stands on North Queen Street in Belfast looking towards Tigers Bay where three Police Land Rovers form a police line during further unrest


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A PSNI officer stands on North Queen Street in Belfast looking towards Tigers Bay where three Police Land Rovers form a police line during further unrest
A fire in a street in the mainly nationalist New Lodge area of north Belfast during further unrest


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A fire in a street in the mainly nationalist New Lodge area of north Belfast during further unrest
Nationalists and Loyalists clash with one another at the 'peace wall' on Lanark Way in west Belfast, Northern Ireland, last night


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Nationalists and Loyalists clash with one another at the 'peace wall' on Lanark Way in west Belfast, Northern Ireland, last night
A man walks through the 'peace gate' while holding a brick as clashes continued last night


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A man walks through the 'peace gate' while holding a brick as clashes continued last night
 

naegling62

Veteran Member
I know one thing, my ancestry is English and my wife's is Irish, in times like these I best be keepin' me eye on her.
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Why and why now?
The remaining Brits in N Ireland are being slowly extincted, and they unsurprisingly find this objectionable. With no effective lawful means of resisting this, that leaves the other kind. "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
‘The fear is that this will get bigger’: six nights of rioting in Northern Ireland
Bottles and petrol bombs have aggravated a political crisis and leave some deeply disheartened
Cailin McCaffery leans on a railing

Cailin McCaffery on the Springfield Road, west Belfast. Photograph: Paul McErlane/The Observer

Rory Carroll

Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent
@rorycarroll72
Thu 8 Apr 2021 17.33 BST



It is not hard finding the next riot spot in Northern Ireland. You can check Facebook or other social media platforms for locations and times. You can follow young people who visit petrol stations to fill up jerry cans. Or you can tag along with older people who gather, phones in hand, to watch and record the show.

One older woman came to Lanark Way off the Shankill Road on Wednesday in a coat and bathrobe for what promised to be a long, cold, eventful evening. “Not long now,” said a man to no one in particular.

The soon-to-be rioters were young males, many teenagers, dressed almost identically in dark fleeces and tracksuits. They made their preparations openly and with method, even swagger, conscious that they had an audience of several hundred people.

Some collected rocks from an adjacent wasteground, forming little piles on the pavement and stuffing the smaller rocks in pockets. Others pulled pallets from a pyramid of wood – a bonfire for the summer marching season – and made a fire in the middle of the road. Tyres were added, sending a black plume into a darkening sky.

The atmosphere was giddy. Boys aged around 17, accompanied by younger apprentices, appeared with brown bottles, some filled with liquid. Everyone eyed the bottles.

Kevin Scott, a Belfast Telegraph photographer, was assaulted and his camera was smashed.


With the street blocked off and a fire blazing, white police Land Rovers arrived, lights flashing but sirens not blaring, and the fusillade began.

Rocks, bottles and petrol bombs crashed off the vehicles. Spectators took their cue to scatter back, or return home, and leave the stage to the main performers.

Two youths entered a Translink doubledecker bus emptied of driver and passengers. An older man appeared to guard the entrance, like a steward, while they fiddled with the controls. They exited, the bus rolled and a petrol bomb exploded inside, creating a fireball on wheels.

A vehicle that connects the city, connects people, destroyed by children of the 1998 Good Friday agreement that drew a line under the Troubles: it was a dispiriting spectacle.
Workers clear a bus from the road

Belfast city council workers clear the remains of a burnt-out bus on the loyalist Shankill Road on Thursday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty
Six nights of disturbances across Northern Ireland have left 55 police officers injured and aggravated a political crisis that encompasses policing, Brexit and the endless tug-of-war between nationalists and unionists.

“Last night was at a scale we haven’t seen in Belfast or further afield in Northern Ireland for a number of years,” said the assistant chief constable, Jonathan Roberts. “We are very, very lucky no one was seriously injured or killed last night given in particular the large number of petrol bombs thrown.”

Translink said the bus driver was very shaken but physically unhurt. Ten people have been arrested over the past week, one of them a 13-year-old boy.

The British and Irish governments expressed grave concern that scenes supposedly consigned to history had returned. The region’s power-sharing executive at Stormont held an emergency meeting with Simon Byrne, the chief constable. In the assembly chamber, politicians from all parties condemned the violence. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, planned to meet faith, community and political leaders.
Three police officers patrol on foot

Police Service of Northern Ireland officers patrol the Cloughfern area of Newtownabbey. Photograph: Paul McErlane/The Observer
But there were reports that loyalists are planning fresh protests this weekend. And there was no sign of a detente between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) to chart a way out of the crisis.

In some ways things are not as bad as they look. The protests have been small, usually involving just a few dozen people. The main loyalist paramilitary groups have not thrown their weight behind the protests. The Stormont assembly and executive are still functioning and giving primacy to peaceful, constitutional politics. No one has died.

But the undercurrents driving the unrest are deep and turbulent.

“We’re second-class citizens. Protestants are second-class citizens, it’s not right,” said Jay, a 16-year-old, as his friends prepared to skirmish with police.

They repeated grievances like a mantra: second-class citizens, picked on by police, abandoned by unionist parties, betrayed by government and, worst of all, bested by nationalists.

According to this perspective, nationalists were able to flout pandemic rules at a huge funeral for Bobby Storey, an IRA commander, last summer because the police are now biased towards Sinn Féin; the DUP rolled over and let Boris Johnson weaken Northern Ireland’s link to the UK to clinch a Brexit deal; loyalism has been ignored and trampled on and the only way to get attention, to hit back, is to cause some mayhem.

“Youse weren’t here till we started lighting fires,” said one youth, spotting a reporter’s notebook.
Some analysts believe that the DUP has demanded the chief constable’s resignation over the Storey funeral policing to stoke the controversy and deflect loyalist anger over the party’s role in creating the Irish Sea border.

“If they are in a tight corner, they whip up unionist insecurities, give loyalist paramilitaries a longer leash and sit back and watch while the country goes up in flames,” Tom Collins wrote in the Irish News, a Belfast daily he used to edit.
Lanark Way peace gates, which divide the nationalist Catholic Springfield Road from the Protestant Shankill Road.

Lanark Way peace gates are closed on Wednesday. The gates divide the nationalist Catholic Springfield Road from the Protestant Shankill Road. Photograph: Paul McErlane/The Observer

Middle-aged men have hovered in the middle of some riots, prompting suspicion that elements of loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Defence Association are orchestrating events. This could be to let kids blow off steam, to stiffen the resolve of unionist leaders, to punish the police for a recent spate of arrests and drug busts, or all of the above.

The irony is that in Northern Ireland’s centenary year it is unionists and loyalists, not nationalists or republicans, who seek to highlight the region’s shortcomings and show that this part of the UK, post-Brexit, doesn’t work.

In Belfast on Wednesday night, however, some nationalists were happy to help them make the case. During the day they had monitored loyalist social media postings about the Lanark Way protest, due to start at 5pm. They gathered on Springfield Road on the other side of the so-called peace wall and launched rocks and bottles into the loyalist side.

A barrage of stone, glass and flaming petrol came in response, a sectarian air battle peppered with sectarian insults. One of the gates caught fire and was breached, with interlopers briefly milling in enemy territory. For a fleeting moment it resembled 1969, the dawn of the Troubles, when mobs burnt homes, but the skirmish ended without serious injury.
“It’s very disheartening,” said Cailin McCaffery, 25, a postgraduate researcher on the Springhill Road side, as smoke coiled over the Shankill. “The PUL [Protestant Unionist Loyalist] community is destroying its own community.”

Northern Ireland had progressed greatly since the Good Friday agreement, for instance the burgeoning cross-community support for LGBT rights, yet here were Catholic teenagers sucked into a tribal battle with Protestant teenagers living over the wall, said McCaffery. “The fear is that the disturbances will get bigger. We don’t want to relive what our parents lived.”
On Thursday morning, calm and a sense of normality returned to the Shankill Road, with traffic trundling past the scorched carcass of the double-decker. The wheels were still smoking.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
And it continues tonight...
Rioters in west Belfast blasted with water cannon
Updated / Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 21:25


PSNI use a water cannon on the Springfield Road, during further unrest in Belfast

PSNI use a water cannon on the Springfield Road, during further unrest in Belfast

Rioters in west Belfast have been blasted with a water cannon by police, as unrest stirred on the streets of Northern Ireland once more.

Stones and fireworks were thrown at police by gangs of youths gathered on the nationalist Springfield Road, close to where last night's riots took place.

Those involved were warned by police to "disperse immediately or the water cannon will be used".

However, those present continued to fire missiles at police and after several warnings, the water cannon deployed.

Some of those present jeered before fleeing as the water jet came closer.

A heavy police presence was in operation tonight, with water cannon, police dogs and the riot squad in place in a bid to quell another night of unrest in the area.

PSNI officers were seen holding riot shields and being pelted with missiles before causing the youths to flee by charging at them with dogs.



Read more:
NI Secretary condemns violence, says there's no excuse
Taoiseach and British PM call for calm in NI
Belfast violence of a scale not seen in recent years - PSNI


Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long has issued a fresh call for calm after what she called "depressing and reckless" scenes.

She tweeted: "More attacks on police, this time from nationalist youths. Utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas tonight.

"My heart goes out to those living in the area who are living with this fear and disturbance. This needs to stop now before lives are lost."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
McDonald calls for calm as violence continues in NI
Updated / Friday, 9 Apr 2021 09:43


Water cannon was used to drive rioters back

Water cannon was used to drive rioters back
By Vincent Kearney
Northern Editor

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for calm in Northern Ireland following another night of disorder in which police used water cannon to drive back rioters in west Belfast.

She said loyalist violence has been deliberately planned to stoke up maximum tensions and called on unionist politicians to show "enlightened leadership" and to call off protests planned for this weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said that "now is a time for leadership among unionists and loyalism ... violence is not the answer for anyone, this is disastrous for communities and young people".

Police used water cannon for the first time in six years to drive back rioters during trouble for a second consecutive evening on both sides of a security gate that divides loyalist and nationalist areas in west Belfast.

It was not on the same scale as rioting on Wednesday night, which police described as the worst in years, as the rival crowds did not get close enough to engage each other.



However, police officers were again attacked by both sides using petrol bombs, fireworks and stones.

Groups of community activists were seen attempting to prevent access to the gate of the peace line where clashes took place on Wednesday.

Ms McDonald said "words and sentiments and common cause" among political leaders across the board is "absolutely essential now".

She said that more engaged leadership is needed from London, from both the Northern Ireland Secretary and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.





Ms McDonald said communities across Northern Ireland are bracing themselves for a very difficult weekend with concerns that violence could extend further and "set the tempo and the scene for the summer".

She said the success of the peace process and the political infrastructure relies "on strong cooperation and common purpose" among all stakeholders and that the two governments are essential to that.

She said that nationalists and republicans have a role to play too, but that now is a moment for unionists and loyalists to call out those involved in the orchestrated scenes of violence.



Justice Minister Naomi Long has condemned what she called the utterly reckless and depressing violence.

Yesterday, Mr Lewis encouraged politicians to "think very carefully" about the language they use.

He said: "Not just unionists, but if you look at the tweets and messages from politicians from all parties - they have put out messages that can be interpreted in a particular way as having a bit of spite to them.

"I don't think there is any place for that. I have spoke to people across parties about that.

"I think we all have to be very clear about the fact that what politicians here say matters.

"Some people involved in what happened in the last few days should be very aware that the wider population of Northern Ireland do not want to tolerate violence.

"All of us should focus on that and guard our language in that way."

The White House has joined the Irish and British governments, European Commission and Stormont Executive in calling for an end to the trouble.



US Congressman Brendan Boyle said the Friends of Ireland group of the US Congress, who are concerned by the unrest in Northern Ireland will meet today to discuss it.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Mr Boyle, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, said they they want to see if there is anything they can do and believes the US can play a positive role in what is going on in Northern Ireland.

However, he said he is also "realistic" about their limitations and stated some things have to be "resolved from within."

Mr Boyle also said more involvement from the British government would be welcome.

"The UK has responsibility over the six counties so ultimately it is the responsibility of the British Prime Minister to stand up and speak out and make clear that this is wrong."

Stormont MLAs unanimously passed a motion yesterday calling for an end to the disorder.

In a joint statement, the five-party Executive said: "While our political positions are very different on many issues, we are all united in our support for law and order and we collectively state our support for policing and for the police officers who have been putting themselves in harm's way to protect others.

"We, and our departments, will continue to work together to maximise the support we can give to communities and the PSNI to prevent further violence and unrest."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Fears of weekend violence in Belfast as leaders call for calm
Further unrest last night saw police use a water cannon for the first time in six years.
21 minutes ago 1,391 Views 8 Comments
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The PSNI used a water cannon in West Belfast.

The PSNI used a water cannon in West Belfast.
Image: PA Images
LEADERS OF THE Stormont Executive are to hold a online meeting with UK Secretary Brandon Lewis following further violence in Northern Ireland.
Lewis arrived in Northern Ireland yesterday to speak to political and religious leaders as well as the PSNI.

Further unrest last night saw police use a water cannon for the first time in six years.
Hundreds of boys and young men gathered in west Belfast with stones and fireworks were thrown at police on the nationalist Springfield Road, close to where riots took the night previous that saw a bus set on fire.
Nationalist and unionist communities in Belfast are often separated by towering “peace walls” to guard against projectiles. On Wednesday there were ugly scenes when part of this divide was breached.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said that engagement with the PSNI must continue as she pushed for unionist leaders to prevent protests planned for this week to go ahead.

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“We met with the Chief Constable yesterday morning and engagement is ongoing with the PSNI. The police need to be fully-resourced to carry out their task,” she said.
The second thing that needs to come from that meeting is a call right across politics and in particular from unionism to those groups that are proposing to continue their protests over the weekend, particularly at the peace lines and at these interface areas, to desist. Call those off and to stop now before things get more serious and before people are badly injured or worse.
McDonald also called for “more engaged leadership” from both London and Dublin saying that the “whole peace arrangement….. relies on strong cooperation.
Yesterday, Taoiseach Michéal Martin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the “concerning developments” in Northern Ireland.
The Irish government said in a statement this evening that both leaders “called for calm” and stressed that “violence is unacceptable”.

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Unionist frustrations over the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol and the decision not to prosecute Sinn Féin members who attended the Bobby Storey funeral have led to scenes of violence in mainly loyalist areas over the past week.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
14 PSNI officers injured in violent protests
Updated / Saturday, 10 Apr 2021 13:17

Police were attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire at Tiger's Bay a loyalist area in north Belfast

Police were attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire at Tiger's Bay a loyalist area in north Belfast

Fourteen PSNI officers were injured in a 12th consecutive night of violence in Northern Ireland.

Loyalists had cancelled a number of planned protests and had been urged to stay off the streets as a mark of respect following the death of Prince Philip.

However, police were pelted with petrol bombs and masonry during three hours of disorder yesterday evening.

The disorder took place in the Atlantic Road area of Coleraine, where a crowd of about 40 people, many of them wearing masks, attempted to block the road by setting fire to pallets.

Police were also attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire in a separate incident at Tiger's Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned against a "spiral back" into sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

In a statement marking the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, he said: "We owe it to the agreement generation and indeed future generations not to spiral back to that dark place of sectarian murders and political discord.

"There is now a particular onus on those of us who currently hold the responsibility of political leadership to step forward and play our part and ensure that this cannot happen."





Today, two men charged with rioting offences in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast during the week were denied bail at Laganside Court.

North Area commander, Chief Superintendent Davy Beck, said: "The senseless disorder we saw unfold in a residential area in Coleraine has achieved nothing but leave people petrified in their homes.

"Such reckless criminal activity has only served to harm the local community by those who deliberately chose to engage in such disorder."


The disorder in Coleraine started at about 7.45pm, when police officers had two petrol bombs thrown at them.

Five more petrol bombs were thrown when more resources were deployed into the area.

Masonry and other missiles were also thrown at officers, causing damage to some police vehicles.
At about 10.45pm, officers had dispersed the crowd and restored order.

Mr Beck added: "Thankfully, none of our officers were injured as a result of the attacks, however some of our vehicles did sustain damage, and that damage is currently being assessed.

"I want to make a direct appeal to parents, guardians and community leaders to use their influence to ensure we do not see a repeat of such ugly scenes.

"This is not wanted by anyone and does not represent the local community who we know just want to live in peace.

"I want to reassure the community that we will continue to work to keep people safe and those who engaged in last night's disorder should be warned that an investigation is under way and evidence gathered will now be reviewed and those identified will face the full rigour of the law."



Leaders in Northern Ireland are fearful the chaos that has plagued the region in recent days will continue into the weekend.

Loyalists have urged their communities to end any protests as a mark of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday.

Despite this, small pockets of unrest continued in parts of the province.

Police were attacked when they attended the scene of disturbance in Tiger Bay, with riot vans and police dogs in tow.

Some officers came under attack, with missiles such as stones, bottles and petrol bombs thrown at them.

There was a heavy police presence in the area overnight, with missiles also thrown at officers in the nearby, nationalist area of New Lodge.

Local SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said: "The last thing people in this community want is further disruption. I understand that tensions are running high but resorting to this kind of behaviour only damages local people and services.

"The crowd burning refuse, blocking roads and intimidating people in this community needs to stop. They need to go home and let people get on with their lives.

"This is a time for calm. Things don't need to escalate. Young people don't need to end up with criminal convictions. I'm appealing for everyone to exercise their influence to reduce tensions in our community."

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to take part in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: "We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the royal family.

"The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
From Zero Hedge...
Northern Ireland Violence Worst In Decades; Fears Of "The Troubles" Return
Tyler Durden's Photo

BY TYLER DURDEN
SATURDAY, APR 10, 2021 - 07:35 AM
Sporadic rioting across several cities and towns in Northern Ireland has resulted in at least 70 injured police officers. The violence is some of the worst in decades as governments in Belfast, London, and Dublin have denounced the social unrest, according to BBC.

Unrest broke out a week ago amid rising post-Brexit tensions. A more immediate catalyst was a decision a few weeks back by public prosecutors not to charge anyone with alleged breaches of COVID regulations at an IRA funeral that sparked unionist outrage.
The unrest began on Mar. 29 in a small city in Northern Ireland called Londonderry. Since then, protests and rioting have spread to Belfast, Carrickfergus, Ballymena, and Newtownabbey.
Source: BBC
The rioting has mainly been loyalist youths hurling petrol bombs, bricks, and fireworks at police officers and their vehicles. But on Wednesday, the chaos intensified into sectarian fighting over a peace wall in west Belfast that separates Protestant loyalist communities from predominantly Catholic nationalist communities who want unification with Ireland.
Source: BBC
Irish nationalist and pro-British loyalists clashed at the peace wall, igniting fears about the revival of the "The Troubles," a dark period when both sides fought a low-level war against each other late 1960s to the late 1990s. The conflict claimed the lives of nearly 3,600 people as nationalists and unionists fought. At times, the conflict spilled over into the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.
"We are gravely concerned by the scenes we have all witnessed on our streets," the compulsory coalition, led by rival pro-Irish Catholic nationalists and pro-British Protestant unionists, wrote in a statement.
"While our political positions are very different on many issues, we are all united in our support for law and order and we collectively state our support for policing," the statement continued.
Northern Ireland's assistant chief constable, Jonathan Roberts, said several hundred people on both sides of the wall were responsible the violence, and he accused outlawed paramilitary groups of inciting it.
"We saw young people participating in serious disorder and committing serious criminal offenses, and they were supported and encouraged, and the actions were orchestrated by adults at certain times," he said.
"Last night was at a scale we haven't seen in Belfast or further afield in Northern Ireland for a number of years," Roberts said.
In a tweet, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland called for calm, saying, "These are scenes we hoped had been confined to history."

Tensions in Northern Ireland have been growing since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, creating a potential trade border between the British-ruled north and the Republican of Ireland in the south. The lack of a trade border has been the main reason why a peace deal has remained in place since 1998.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, a trade border was placed around the Irish Sea with goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain subject to European Union checks. This move infuriated unionists, who have accused London of abandoning them.
The British and Irish prime ministers held talks this week, while the Biden administration was concerned about the ongoing violence.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "The way to resolve difference is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."
Meanwhile, Ireland's foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has called on local leaders to ease tensions.

As Philip McGowan writes, these protests have not suddenly appeared out of nowhere, but neither are they all about Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol. They are the culmination of a complex mix of change and a deep-rooted resistance to it, and an ingrained political and social inertia particular to this place. It’s true that some things in Northern Ireland have changed enormously for the better on a day-to-day basis since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, but look behind that surface improvement and quickly you will see evidence that other things have not changed that much at all. Meanwhile, our politics has atrophied as it has polarised in the intervening decades.
The point remains, however, that there are huge social issues here that are not being addressed by politicians: 120,000 children are living in poverty in Northern Ireland and more than 40,000 people are on the social housing waiting list – a rise of 10% in the past year. Between 1998 and 2014, more people died by suicide in Northern Ireland than were killed during the Troubles (and of those there were 3,600), and that devastating statistic keeps growing. An endemic lack of social and economic opportunity has been added to the load carried by a new generation, who are the children of the children of the Troubles.
Could things spiral backwards? Yes, if there is a continued absence of political leadership willing to take the forward steps needed to stabilise a volatile situation. Northern Ireland has never needed better political leadership than it does right now. It also needs the UK and Irish governments to accept and adhere to their responsibilities as set out in the Agreement, because the Agreement is the roadmap to resolve Northern Ireland’s status as we move away from violence and toward peace. For the Agreement to have been overwhelmingly supported across all of this island (71% in Northern Ireland, 94% in the Republic of Ireland) was a remarkable feat. Stagnation politics since then has nurtured complacency about exactly what was achieved in 1998. Peace is an extraordinarily brittle entity. Democracy is a daily commitment to hearing and addressing the issues in front of us as they arise. It needs constant vigilance and it needs tolerance. It doesn’t always produce the desired result, so it also requires compromise. But in terms of the problems that face us, we already have the solution in our hands: we worked it out after decades of pain and loss, but we still need to implement all the Agreement’s commitments.
Northern Ireland needs leaders who accept the complexities at play in this new reality: our grave social deprivation and economic disadvantages; our shared peripheral status for decades; and the political inertia that defines our situation. All of this means economic and social problems are not being addressed, which, in turn, plays into the hands of criminal and gang elements happy to keep communities at the mercy of irresponsible and divisive forces who, I’m afraid, haven’t gone away.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
Been watching. Sigh.

Irish Ma's need to start yanking their young hoodlums back to the house by their ear and kicking their butts - sorta like what happened before when the adults in the room from both sides got fed up. Be nice if it happened before somebody gets killed.
 
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