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Violence in Northern Ireland

Violence in Northern Ireland

Nearly 90 officers have been hurt in Northern Ireland’s worst street violence for years, after sporadic rioting in several towns and cities since the end of March, The governments in Belfast, London, and Dublin have condemned the unrest, with the US calling for calm as police used water cannons for the first time in six years.

Eighteen people have been arrested and 15 charged after crowds of predominantly loyalist youths attacked lines of riot police officers and vehicles with bricks, fireworks, and petrol bombs.

WHY SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED

Violence involving gangs of youths started on 29 March in an area of Londonderry that is loyalist – in favor of keeping Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

Until the death of Prince Philip on 9 April, there were protests and rioting on a near-nightly basis in a number of towns and cities, including Belfast, Carrickfergus, Ballymena, and Newtownabbey, The areas affected are among the most deprived in the country, with the lowest level of educational attainment in Europe.

On the night of 7 April, the fighting spilled over a so-called peace wall in west Belfast that divides predominantly Protestant loyalist communities from predominantly Catholic nationalist communities who want to see a united Ireland.

A gate that divides the two was smashed open and, during several hours of disorder, police officers and a press photographer were attacked and a bus was hijacked and burned. The clashes raised concerns of escalating sectarian tensions.

Parts of Northern Ireland are still split along sectarian lines, 23 years after a peace deal largely ended Northern Ireland’s Troubles – which lasted almost 30 years and cost the lives of more than 3,500 people.

While there are no clear indications the unrest is being orchestrated by an organized group, the violence has been concentrated in areas where criminal gangs linked to loyalist paramilitaries have significant influence, There is increasing evidence that senior figures in organisations such as the Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Volunteer Force are allowing the trouble to proceed.

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About The Author

Praveen Yadav

19 | Bibliophile and quaint | Full-Time Coder, Occasional Writer | Analytical Journalist at NDTV | Political and Psychological

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