Rioters hijack & firebomb bus - Northern Ireland authorities condemn Belfast violence

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The Sun1.32M
Published on 8 Apr 2021, 16:00
Ministers in the Stormont Executive have been urged to speak with a united voice in condemning rioting that has erupted in Northern Ireland.

The call from the Police Federation came ahead of a meeting of the powersharing administration to discuss the escalating public order situation in the region.

The Stormont Assembly is also being recalled from the Easter recess for an emergency sitting later on Thursday morning to debate the violence, which has mostly flared in loyalist areas.

The federation said at least another seven officers were injured in Wednesday night's violence in Belfast.

A total of 41 officers sustained injuries in previous outbreaks of disorder in various parts of Northern Ireland in recent days.

The violence is unfolding at a time of increasing rancour in the political sphere amid tensions over Brexit's Irish Sea trade border and the fallout from the police's handling of a mass republican funeral that took place during pandemic restrictions last year.

As rioting has flared across Northern Ireland, all four main unionist parties continue to call for PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to quit over how his service dealt with the funeral of former IRA leader Bobby Storey last year.

Unionists are furious at a decision by prosecutors not to take action against 24 Sinn Fein politicians, including deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, for attending the funeral - a decision partly related to the fact police engaged with the organisers before an event that drew 2,000 people on to the streets.

"I think the Executive need to stand together and need to make very, very firm statements around where they stand in the support in law and order," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Police Federation chair Mark Lindsay expressed concern that the row over Mr Byrne's future was playing out at such a turbulent time.

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