In the night between Saturday and Sunday, around 30 unionist protesters threw 30 Molotov cocktails at policemen, set cars on fire and ripped up street drains in a northern suburb of Belfast. Northern Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck spoke of a veritable “orchestrated attack on the police”, while Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis called for calm.
A 47-year-old man has been arrested and is in custody.
There is growing discontent among pro-British unionist factions in Northern Ireland over the deals linked to Britain’s exit from the European Union. The agreements aim to preserve a fragile peace in the territory by preventing a hard border with Ireland, a member of the EU. The protocol eliminates the need for customs and regulatory checks at the border with Ireland by moving checkpoints for goods arriving from mainland Britain to ports in Northern Ireland. Unionists, however, argue that ties with the rest of the UK are tightening by introducing trade barriers.
Also fueling the tension this week was the decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein members who attended the funeral in June of the party’s iconic man, Bobby Storey, in blatant violation of the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic. 19.
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