Thursday, May 6, 2021

What is behind the recent violence in Northern Ireland?


On March 29, police officers were targeted in a petrol bomb attack in Derry / Londonderry, a predominantly union area in Tullimore, after attempting to evacuate a mob of around 40 people. For five nights, similar scenes occurred in the city.

By Friday, 2 April, the disorder spread to South Belfast, where A small protest landed in an attack on police in a loyal pocket of the Sandy Row area, where 15 police officers were left with burns, head and leg injuries.

Belfast District Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said officers were “subjected to constant attack by rioters who threw several items at police, including heavy masonry, metal rods, fireworks and manhole covers.”

Why is this happening?

Early days of disorder The same week came when officials said they would not prosecute leaders of the nationalist party Sin Féin for allegedly breaking the coronovirus ban last summer when they attended the funeral of Bobby Storr, a former senior at the IRA PERSON, a paramilitary group that had led a decade of campaign for an independent and re-organized Ireland.

A crowd of about 2,000 gathered at Manjila’s funeral.

Loyalty communities have accused officials of partisan hypocrisy around that decision, saying they decided to cancel their traditional twelfth of July parade last summer due to Kovid-19 And missed attending events and funerals of loved ones as they complied with those restrictions.

But many analysts say the recent successful policing and condemnation of the police over drug gangs and criminal activities is run by loyal paramilitary forces.

Who is rioting?

According to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) most of the rioters are young, with some participants being as young as 12 years old.

The first days of violence, which escalated over the weekend of Easter, occurred mainly in loyalist areas in the cities of Belfast and Derry / Londonderry and in the cities of Newtownabbey, Ballymena and Carrickferus.

But on Wednesday this dynamic changed in West Belfast, where loyalties and rioters of nationalist communities collided with the so-called peace line – a gated wall that separates the predominantly Unionist and Nationalist neighborhoods from one another.

At one point, police struggled to close a gate designed to isolate areas during the violence, where petrol bombs, bottles, masonry and fireworks were hurled.

Several times 600 people were present there, police said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a bus was also hijacked on Lanark Way near the junction with Shankill Road, where a press photographer was also attacked.

In some videos of the chaos shared on social media, adults can be seen cheering and arrogance at children for carrying out violent incidents, raising deep concerns that violence may be perpetrated by paramilitary groups is.

On Thursday, PSNI said they were still trying to confirm “whether paramilitary groups were involved in the riots”. Police did not say there was a paramilitary force involvement, but PSNI Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said it was “a degree of organization” evident for the violence.

The skirmishes continued on Springfield Road in Belfast on Thursday evening, with protesters throwing stones at police vehicles on the nationalist side of the peace line. Officers in riot gear, along with dogs and a water cannon, moved to chase away the people involved.

The South Belfast UPRG on Thursday became the first loyalist group to call for an end to the clutter. The Loyalist Communist Council (LCC), a group consisting of representatives of Unionist paramilitaries and also associated with the UPRG, said in Friday’s statement that “none of their respective groups have directly or indirectly been involved in the recent violence.” Does not include. Day. “It states that” the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right “but that all actions by members of a loyal community” should be completely peaceful. ”

The PSNI ruled out withdrawing its previous assessment, denying the involvement of loyal paramilitaries in orchestrating the violence on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, Roberts said his “overall assessment” was that the violence that has occurred “is not circled by a group in the name of that group.”

“There are definitely people who are engaged in violence, who have nothing to do with any illegal organization,” he said.

He said, “We think there may be some people who may have connections to accused organizations who are present at the scenes of violence, but we do not believe it is sanctioned and conducted by organizations determined to be peaceful Has been done, ”he said.

The PSNI said in a statement that there were “reports of disorder” in the Tiger Bay area of ​​Belfast on Friday evening. Media footage from the area showed a car caught fire on Friday evening as riot police set the street on fire. Police have not specifically addressed the incident.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Northern Ireland Chief of Police Superintendent Muir Clarke said: “We will appeal to remain calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in the communities to use that influence.” So as to ensure that the youth do not get caught up in the culprit and they are kept safe and away from harm tonight. “

What does Brexit have to do with this?

Riots are unfolding amid growing anger over a specific part of the Brexit Agreement.

Tensions have increased in Northern Ireland since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016. But anger is growing over a specific part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement called for. Northern Ireland Protocol, Which has been a major point of contention.
During the Brexit negotiations, all parties widely agreed that any agreement would honor the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, known as the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Saying in 2019 “We will not under any circumstances check on or near the border in Northern Ireland. We will honor the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.”
European Union launches legal action against Britain for breach of Brexit deal and international law

The GFA marked the end of the troubles – a term used to describe a period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to its signature in 1998.

The peace agreement also started the process of dismantling border control Between the North of Ireland and the Republic, and in 2006, the last Watchtower was taken.

But after Britain left the European Union (and its single market), a new scheme – the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol was implemented.

The NI Protocol aims to eliminate the need for border control between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (EU member).

Instead, it forms a de facto border under the Irish Sea because goods entering Great Ireland from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are subject to EU scrutiny. The move has angered British pro-unionists. Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster And his party, the Democratic Unionist Party, which argues that the deal threatens the future of the union.

Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long said on Wednesday that the UK government’s “dishonesty and lack of clarity about these issues has led to a sense of anger in some parts of our community,” noting that the government had given that effect Brexit which has been reduced to Northern Ireland.

long Told The BBC’s Radio 4 Today program said the government knew that the consequences of Brexit would be “most acutely felt in Northern Ireland, where identity issues are interwoven with border issues.”

Last month, the Loyalist Community Council said it was withdrawing its support for the GFA, also known as the Belfast Agreement.

“Will there be a political existence to deal with the trade problem – or is the EU playing fast and loose with peace in Northern Ireland, to punish Britain for voting for independence?” David Trimble – Former First Minister of Northern Ireland and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement Wall Street Journal Opinion Friday.

What are political leaders saying?

Irish chief Michelle Martin – better known as Taoshich – and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on Thursday.

A statement from Martin’s office said the violence was unacceptable, calling for calm.

He continued, “The Good Friday Agreement is the way forward through the dialogue and functioning of institutions.”

While the White House on Thursday joined Northern Irish, British and Irish leaders to express concern over the violence, State Department spokesman Ned Price warned that the GFA “should not be a casualty of Brexit.”

Northern Irish Justice Minister Long has called on people to “stop, before lives are lost”.

At an emergency meeting of the Government of Northern Ireland on Thursday, First Minister Arlene Foster said the violence had tarnished the country’s reputation in its centenary year.

“We all should be well aware that when politics fails or is projected to fail in Northern Ireland, those who destroy the vacuum offer and fill the gloom. We are looking forward to our young people’s new “Can’t allow a generation to hunt or be hunted on that path. By someone who puts the shadow in the light,” Foster told the Northern Irish Assembly.

Is there any sign of violence?

Both communities are appealing for peace. However, it is unclear whether that call will be heard or not.

On Friday, loyalist groups called the unofficial band parade, which was planned over the weekend, as a mark of respect Prince philippe, Who died on Friday.

Protests are expected in the region on Saturday which marks the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement.

Journalists Peter Taggart, CNN’s Emmett Leon, Amy Cassidy, Niam Kennedy contributed to this report.

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