Again riots in Belfast: Unionists set bus on fire

Again riots in Belfast
Unionists set fire to bus

The civil war in Northern Ireland has officially ended for 23 years. But after the post-Brexit deal, discontent among pro-British unionists is growing. The mood has been simmering for days, and in the evening young people fought street battles with the police. Not for the first time these days.

In new riots in the Northern Irish capital, Belfast, a bus was attacked, kidnapped and set on fire on Wednesday evening. The police called on the population to avoid several areas in the city where people had gathered. Videos circulating on the Internet showed how a double-decker bus was initially pelted with incendiary devices and then burned out completely. A press photographer was also reportedly attacked.

The incident took place at an intersection between a Protestant and a Catholic residential area. Nocturnal riots have been going on for days in the British province of Northern Ireland, in which more than 40 police officers have been injured. According to the security authorities, behind this are partly militant Protestant-loyalist groups that are also active in the drug trade.

The alleged reason for the riots is the decision of the public prosecutor’s office not to prosecute high-ranking politicians of the Catholic-Republican Sinn Fein party for violating the Corona rules after attending the big funeral of a former IRA terrorist.

Northern Ireland’s special status, as defined in the Brexit agreement, has also met with resistance from parts of the Protestant camp. The British part of the country has de facto remained part of the EU trading area in order to prevent goods controls at the border with the EU member state Republic of Ireland. Instead, checks must now take place at ports when goods enter Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK.

In the Northern Ireland conflict, which only ended with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, for decades a majority of Protestant supporters of the union with Great Britain and predominantly Catholic supporters of a unification of the two parts of Ireland faced each other. The police and the British military were also drawn into the conflict. More than 3,600 people died and almost 50,000 were injured. Society is still deeply divided.

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