Northern Ireland All-Party Government Condemns Violence In Province, Calls To Restore Calm

Northern Ireland All-Party Government Condemns Violence in Province, Calls to Restore Calm

LONDON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2021) party semi-autonomous government of Northern Ireland condemned on Thursday the violence that erupted on the streets of Belfast and other cities of the UK province in recent days, and called for calm to be restored.

"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," the ministers from the unionist, republican and centrist parties said in a joint statement issued after being updated on the situation by the local police authority.

Protesters attacked police officers, threw petrol bombs and hijacked a bus and set it on fire in Belfast on Wednesday night, the seventh day in a row that alleged loyalist groups took to the streets to express their discontent with the post-Brexit arrangements that have created economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Tensions flared up last week when police decided not to prosecute 24 politicians from the rival republican Sinn Fein party, including Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, for attending a funeral at a time Northern Ireland was placed under strict COVID-19 restrictions.

The Executive's statement deplored the involvement of young people in the protests, warning 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."

The regional parliament, known as the Stormont, has been recalled from Easter recess for an emergency meeting to be held on Thursday.

According to BBC, the United Kingdom's central government minister for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, was heading to Belfast for urgent crisis talks, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted earlier that he was deeply concerned by the scenes of violence, and urged people to resolve differences through dialogue.