Belfast was shaken by a night of violence amid a rise in sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland. London has expressed concern over the unrest and called on loyalists and Republicans to settle their disagreements peacefully.
Footage from RT’s video agency Ruptly shows a fleet of police cars driving down a street in Northern Ireland’s capital with sirens blazing on Wednesday night. In a clip, police in gear equipment are geared up as loud bangs can be heard nearby. Earlier in the day, insurgents dropped petrol bombs and set off a bus. Officers who arrived at the scene were reportedly attacked with projectiles.
The unrest is thought to have been sparked by anger over the decision not to prosecute Sinn Fein members who attended the June funeral of senior IRA figure Bobby Storey. About 2,000 mourners attended the event and apparently got rid of Covid-19 measures that limited large gatherings. Tensions had already been inflamed among the loyalist community over Britain’s Brexit agreement with the EU, which requires controls at ports and airports for some goods arriving from Britain.
At least 10 arrests have been made and more than 40 officers have been injured in clashes that have occurred since the violence broke out.
Speaking on Thursday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the scenes in Northern Ireland concerned and called for de-escalation.
“Of course we are worried. The route out of this is dialogue, and I would urge all parties to take part in that dialogue. “ he said.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin reiterated a similar sentiment, calling for it “The two governments and leaders on all sides to work together to alleviate tensions and restore calm.”
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