Tensions Flare in Northern Ireland as Unionists Clash With Police

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Jonathan Rowson – The recent unrest in Northern Ireland that saw unionist youths engage in running battles with the police in Belfast has caught the world’s attention.

Experts have told Sputnik that the recent events may have been sparked by the mounting dissatisfaction with the UK-EU Brexit settlement in some communities and the rhetoric of political leaders.

For more than a week, members of the unionist community, those who wish for Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, hurled stones, fireworks, and petrol bombs at police officers during sporadic clashes. One incident on 7 April saw youths hijack a bus and set it alight in Belfast.

The UK government’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, told the House of Commons this past Wednesday that 88 police officers were injured in the clashes, adding that 18 people had been arrested.

“The violence witnessed last week is totally unacceptable. Attacks on police officers are utterly reprehensible. Those engaged in this destruction and disorder do not represent the people of Northern Ireland”, Lewis told parliament.

Despite the condemnation, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland reportedly rejected calls this week for a joint UK-Republic of Ireland summit to discuss the recent violence.

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