Set the bus on fire: Belfast faces new riots

The bus caught fire
Belfast witnesses new riots

The Civil War in Northern Ireland officially ended 23 years ago. But after the post-Brexit deal, discontent increased among the pro-British trade unionists. The mood was simmering for days, and in the evening the young men fought street fights with the police. Not the first time these days.

In new riots in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, a bus was attacked, hijacked and set on fire on Wednesday evening. The police called on residents to avoid several areas in the city where people gathered. Videos circulating online showed how a double-decker bus was first pelted with incendiary devices and then burned completely. A photojournalist was reportedly attacked.

The accident occurred at an intersection between a Protestant and Catholic residential area. The night riots have continued 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 pro-Protestant militant groups who are also active in the drug trade.

The alleged reason for the riots was a decision by the Public Prosecutor’s Office not to prosecute senior politicians from the Republican Catholic Sinn Fein Party for violating the Corona rules after attending a large funeral of a former IRA terrorist.

Northern Ireland’s special status, as defined in the Brexit agreement, was met with resistance from parts of the Protestant camp. The British part of the country actually remained part of the European Union’s trade area in order to prevent merchandise controls at the border with the EU member state, the Republic of Ireland. Instead, checks should now take place at ports when goods enter Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK.

In the Northern Ireland dispute, which ended only with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the majority of Protestant supporters of union with Great Britain and most of the Catholic supporters of the unification of Ireland faced each other for decades. The British police and army were also involved in the conflict. More than 3,600 people have died and nearly 50,000 injured. The community remains deeply divided.

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