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Bus torched in more Northern Ireland violence as British and Irish leaders call for calm

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 68.6%. 2 min read.

Parts of Northern Ireland saw their sixth consecutive night of violence Wednesday as unionists and nationalists clashed with police and each other.

Dublin, Ireland (CNN)Parts of Northern Ireland saw their sixth consecutive night of violence Wednesday as unionists and nationalists clashed with police and each other.

Unrest first broke out last week amid rising tensions relating to Brexit and unionist anger over a decision by police not to prosecute leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions during the funeral of a former leading IRA figure.

In west Belfast on Wednesday, rioters clashed along the so-called "peace line" dividing predominantly unionist and nationalist communities, with police struggling to close a gate designed to separate the areas.

In a statement, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the violence and "attacks on police," adding the "only way forward is to address issues of concern through peaceful and democratic means. "

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "deeply concerned by the scenes of violence" in Northern Ireland.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality," Johnson said on Twitter.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, a de facto border was created in the Irish Sea, with goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain subject to EU checks, a move which angered unionists, who have accused London of abandoning them.

Speaking to CNN, Democratic Unionist Party MP Sammy Wilson called for Johnson to "tear up the agreement which breaks up the United Kingdom, tear up the agreement which breaks up all the promises you made to the people of Northern Ireland. "

Last month, the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), a grouping of unionist paramilitaries, said it was withdrawing its support for the Good Friday Agreement which ended the Troubles.

While the LCC said opposition would be peaceful, the letter said the groups would not rejoin "until our rights under the Agreement are restored and the (Brexit) protocol amended to ensure unfettered access for goods, services and citizens throughout the United Kingdom. "

Writing on Twitter late Wednesday, Mary Lou McDonald, an Irish lawmaker and leader of Sinn Fein, said: "a united voice for a halt to all violence and for the restoration of calm is the only acceptable stance from all political leaders.

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