Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin on Saturday warned against “behind the spiral” of communal clashes in Northern Ireland, with 14 police injured after a week-long unrest continued on the last night of clashes.
The Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) reported that petrol bombs and masonry were hurled at officers on Friday night in the pockets of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland.
A car also “hijacked and set fire to the police line” as the total number of officers injured in the recent unrest reached six.
Elsewhere, police clashed with a crowd of 40 people north of Coleran, and one was charged with “possessing a petrol bomb under suspicious circumstances” following the crash in Newtownbaby, a suburb north of Belfast.
Saturday marks the 23rd anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday treaty, injuring three decades of conflict in northern Ireland against British rule that has killed more than 3,600 people.
Martin said in a statement, “We are committed to the agreement generation and to future generations that communal killings and political divisions cannot return to this dark place.”
“Those of us who are now moving forward with the responsibility of political leadership and playing our part and making sure it doesn’t happen, have a special nod to it now.”
“It has been a difficult and stressful week,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Cowan.
“This anniversary commemorates the responsibility of all of us, as well as what politics, determination and dialogue can achieve.”
“That’s the spirit we need now.”
“We all have a duty to support Northern Ireland, leaving behind its divisive past,” said Brandon Lewis, Britain’s secretary for Northern Ireland.
The most intense unrest in recent years has stemmed from the pro-UK unionist community.
Dissatisfaction is Simultaneously in some quarters Apparent economic displacement as a result of existing tensions with the Braxit and Irish nationalist communities.
After the UK left the European Union earlier this year, checks and tariffs were introduced on some goods moving from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland as the province is now bordered by blocs through the EU member republics.
But critics of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Exit Treaty say a border will now be in effect in the Irish Sea, and unionists, who want to stay in the UK, are feeling betrayed.
Brigadier General Lafan, a political scientist at the European University Institute, told Al Jazeera that the protocol undermined the loyalist notion that “London would look after them”.
“So the unionists and loyalists are feeling more at risk now and then it comes to the top of many socio-economic problems in the loyal region,” he said.
“So what we’re seeing in Northern Ireland today is very dangerous.”
Violence has also spread within the nationalist community. On Thursday night, nationalist rioters hurled petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks and bottles at various levels of the rank-and-file police force to prevent their arrival in the unionist enclave.
Officers deployed a water cannon for the first time in years and the deep crowd continued to take the crowd back.
The gates of a “wall of peace” were fixed the previous evening, separating the Unionist and Nationalist neighborhoods.
Police said crowds on both sides attacked each other with petrol bombs, missiles and fireworks.
Protests in Unionist communities in Belfast on Friday were canceled after the news broke. Prince Philip – The husband of Queen Elizabeth II died.
“Protests have been postponed as a token of respect for the Queen and the Royal Family.
Although Friday’s riots were less publicized than at the start of the week, there are fears it could gain new momentum in the coming days.
“I’m worried about next weekend,” Northern Ireland’s deputy prime minister and nationalist party leader Sean Sein Finn Michel O’Neill told reporters on Friday.