19 officers injured in N.Ireland riot

7 April 2021, United Kingdom, Belfast: People stand next to a fire during further unrest. Northern Ireland has had several consecutive nights of street violence and disorder in a number of mainly loyalist areas following a controversial decision last week not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending the large-scale funeral of former IRA man Bobby Storey during strict COVID-19 rules limiting public gatherings.

Belfast, (Asian independent) About 19 officers were injured in the latest riot in Northern Ireland, bringing the number of hurt police to 74 during a week of violence across the region, local media reported.

According to the BBC, water cannon was used by police in Belfast for the first time in six years as they faced attacks by petrol bombs, fireworks and stones, reports Xinhua news agency.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said on Friday that there was “sustained violence directed towards police officers on both sides of the interface over a period of hours” on Thursday night.

According to Roberts, the majority of injuries to officers were to hearing due to fireworks being detonated close to them, one female officer suffered a broken bone in her foot.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday night on Twitter: “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.”

The latest development followed several nights of unrest amid tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol within the Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union (EU).

The Northern Ireland Protocol, as an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, was ratified by both the EU and Britain and has been in force since February 1, 2020.

There were also disputes over the police’s handling of alleged lockdown breaches by the left-wing party Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey, according to Sky News.

 

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