Boris Johnson condemns post-Brexit violence in Northern Ireland
- Credit: PA
Prime minister Boris Johnson has condemned violence that again broke out on the streets of Northern Ireland, after a bus was hijacked and set on fire.
The bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said.
It was one of a number of incidents on Wednesday evening that took place on the peace line street that links the loyalist Shankill Road with the nationalist Springfield Road.
Writing on Twitter, Johnson said: “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.”
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It follows several nights of unrest in loyalist communities amid tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI’s handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.
Stones were thrown at police while a press photographer was assaulted nearby during the course of their work on Wednesday evening.
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Later on Wednesday night, the gates of the peace line on Lanark Way were opened, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists.
Social media footage captured petrol bombs being thrown from both sides of the wall.
Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland Louise Haigh said the “mindless violence” is damaging local communities and “serves no purpose.”
She added: “The frontline police officers and all those trying to restore calm deserve our support.
“All those with responsibility for Northern Ireland must be united in condemning the violence and coming together to bring it to an end.
“Violence will do nothing to resolve the complex challenges facing Northern Ireland – that will only happen through engagement and constitutional politics.”
The Chief Constable of the PSNI Simon Byrne has pleaded for the ongoing unrest to stop.
He tweeted: “The ongoing street disorder must stop. I am open to dialogue with anyone who is willing to work with me to resolve the issues facing our community.
“My message to those engaged in violence tonight is go home before someone is seriously injured, violence is not the answer.”
The Stormont Assembly is set to be recalled on Thursday for an emergency debate following days of violence.
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