Digital Desk Staff
There was further unrest and violence in Belfast on Thursday night as nationalist and loyalist youths clashed at interfaces in the west of the city.
As The Irish Times report, police resorted to using water cannons to try to bring the situation under control.
Violence continued despite calls for calm from the Irish and British governments, the White House and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Following serious trouble on Wednesday night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and UK prime minister Boris Johnson spoke and urged an end to the trouble, which has raged mostly in loyalist areas of the North since last weekend.
Stormont Ministers jointly condemned the scenes as “deplorable” and called for an end to the unrest, which have been linked to bad feeling in unionist and loyalist communities over the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol and the decision not to prosecute anybody over alleged Covid-19 rule breaches at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.
The White House said it was “concerned by the violence” in the North and “we join the British, Irish and Northern Irish leaders in their call for calm”.
“We welcome the provisions in both the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol, which help protect the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement,” press secretary Jen Psaki said.
@PaulMaskeyMP on the ground on the Springfield Road with residents and local community activists.
The minority of young people involved in this anti-community activity this evening must wise up and go home.
The people of the Springfield and West Belfast deserve to live in peace pic.twitter.com/Z5QpkfsEM6
— Belfast Sinn Féin (@belfastsinnfein) April 8, 2021
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis described as “despicable” adults seen encouraging children as young as 13 to engage in “thuggery and hooliganism” during the riots.
He said it was “pretty sad and pretty dreadful” that older people were goading youngsters into charging sectarian flashpoints during the escalating street violence linked to mounting loyalist tensions.
“Words fail me as to what goes on in an adult’s mind to encourage a 13-year-old kid to behave that way,” he said in a briefing with reporters after flying in to speak to community, political and church leaders.
Mr Lewis also called on the Loyalist Communities Council, which represents the views of loyalist paramilitaries, to condemn the disturbances, which have seen more than 50 PSNI officers injured.
Rejecting suggestions that his Conservative government’s role in putting a border down the Irish Sea as part of the Brexit agreement was to blame, Mr Lewis said the reasons for the unrest were “more complicated than any one particular issue”.