Ireland’s prime minister, Michael Martin, warned of a “return spiral” of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland on Saturday, following a week of unrest that continued with 14 police injured on the night of the clash. nearest.
The Northern Ireland Police Agency (PSNI) said chaos broke out in the pockets of Belfast – the capital of Northern Ireland – on Friday night with petrol bombs and construction materials thrown at the officers.
A car was also “robbed, set on fire and pushed towards the police line”, as the total number of police injured in the recent chaos amounted to 88 people.
In another development, police clashed with a crowd of 40 in the northern town of Coleraine and a man accused of “owning a gas bomb in suspicious circumstances” after messing up in Newtownabbey, grandmother. Belfast north box.
Saturday marks the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which settled the decade-long conflict of British rule in Northern Ireland that left more than 3,600 people dead.
“We owe it to the deal generation and indeed future generations don’t go back to the dark place of denomination murders and political discord,” Martin said in a statement. Father.
“Now those of us who are currently in charge of political leadership have to go ahead and do our part and make sure this can’t happen.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said it was “a difficult and disturbing week”.
“The anniversary comes as a reminder of the responsibility of all of us, as well as what politics, determination and dialogue can be,” he said.
“That’s the spirit we need now.”
“We all have a duty to help Northern Ireland leave the divided past behind,” said Britain’s Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis.
The most acute unrest in recent years has mainly stemmed from the pro-UK community.
Indignation is boiled over a number of quarters too obvious economic disparities due to Brexit and existing tensions with pro-Irish nationalist communities.
After the UK left the EU earlier this year, tariff and inspection measures were imposed on some goods moving from mainland to Northern Ireland as the province is now bordering the bloc through its membership. The EU is the Republic of Ireland.
But critics of the departure agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol say a border currently in effect in the Irish Sea, leaves unions, who want to stay in the UK, feel betrayed.
Brigid Laffan, director of the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute, told Al Jazeera that the protocol weakened the sense of loyalists that “London will look after them”.
“So the trade unionists and the loyalists feel more vulnerable now, and this then leads to a lot of socioeconomic problems in loyal areas,” she said. to speak.
“So what we’re seeing in Northern Ireland today is very dangerous.”
The violence has also spread to the nationalist community. On Thursday night, nationalist rioters threw petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks and bottles into the ranks of armored police vehicles to prevent them from reaching a mass union.
Officers deployed the tornado for the first time in years and drove away the growing crowd late at night.
The night before, the gates in the “wall of peace” separating the collegial and nationalist settlements were set up.
Police said crowds from both sides broke into each other’s attacks with gas bombs, rockets and fireworks.
On Friday marches were scheduled in union communities in Belfast but they were canceled following news that Prince Philip Queen Elizabeth II’s husband – has passed away.
“The demonstrations were postponed as a respect for the Queen and the Royal Family,” announced a hastily erected banner in a reunification neighborhood.
While Friday’s riots were less pronounced than earlier in the week, there were concerns that it could gain fresh momentum in the coming days.
“I’m worried about the upcoming weekend,” Michelle O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s first deputy minister and nationalist party leader Sinn Fein, told reporters on Friday.