Demands for clarity on Northern Ireland Protocol

Bus hijacked and set on fire as unrest continues in Belfast

Bus hijacked and set on fire as unrest continues in Belfast

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that both the United Kingdom and Irish governments will work to ease tensions in Northern Ireland, calling for political leaders in Northern Ireland to condemn the violence and work out a response to diffuse the situation.

Johnson appealed for calm, saying: "The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality".

The latest disturbances followed unrest over the Easter long weekend in pro-British unionist areas in and around Belfast and Londonderry, also known as Derry, that saw cars set on fire and projectiles and gasoline bombs hurled at police officers.

A bus was hijacked and set on fire in Belfast this evening as disorder continued for another night in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has seen sporadic outbreaks of street violence since the 1998 Good Friday peace accord ended "the Troubles" - decades of Catholic-Protestant bloodshed over the status of the region in which more than 3,000 people died.

"I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist", Johnson said in a tweet.

My Government has listened to and will continue to listen to and engage with the views of all communities in Northern Ireland.

He was joined by Colum Eastwood, the leader of the Socialist Democratic and Labour Party, who told BBC's Radio 4 Today programme that while he was "outraged" by Sinn Fein's behaviour the tensions were also a " direct result of a British Prime Minister who has lied to the unionist people of Northern Ireland".

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The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said some of the violence was influenced by "criminal elements" who helped to orchestrate the attacks.

The British-run region's devolved executive, a compulsory power-sharing coalition led by Irish nationalists and their unionist rivals, will meet later on Thursday to discuss the clashes, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said.

Authorities have accused outlawed paramilitary groups of inciting young people to cause mayhem. The controversy stirred the old conflict in Northern Ireland, between separatists and loyalists.

The violence has been blamed on anger in response to a decision by the Public Prosecution Service not to pursue prosecutions against members of Sinn Fein who attended the funeral of Mr Storey past year despite restrictions over gatherings, as well as Brexit and localised issues in the south-east Antrim area.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader and First Minister Arlene Foster described the violence as "an embarrassment to Northern Ireland".

The assembly recall has the support of the five main Stormont parties and was proposed by Alliance Party leader and Justice Minister Naomi Long.

Regarding the bus attack in Belfast, she added in a subsequent post on Twitter: "This is not a protest".

"And that's why we're focused on looking at how do we rebuild confidence in policing, and how do we deal with the issues around the Bobby Storey funeral - and secondly how do we deal with the issues related to the so-called border in the Irish Sea". "There's many factors, including, obviously, criminal gangs at work who benefit from chaos like this".

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