A double-decker bus was completely engulfed in flames after being bombarded by rioters near Northern Ireland’s “peace wall” – in the fourth night of violence which injured at least 55 cops, authorities said .
A savage video shared by The Sun shows the red bus crawling slowly down a Belfast street on Wednesday evening as a crowd of young men clad in black threw petrol bombs at it.
It was soon completely engulfed in flames, with huge plumes of black smoke rising into the air – later leaving only charred remains on the ground.
“It’s not a protest. It is vandalism and an attempted murder ”, Prime Minister Arlene Foster tweeted with footage of the bus attack, calling it “embarrassment for Northern Ireland”.
The violence is blamed on growing frustration over new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Doors have been set alight on a ‘peace wall’ – separating pro-Irish nationalist and pro-Unionist British communities since the ‘unrest’ began more than 50 years ago – as crowds threw petrol bombs above.
Pictures show groups standing around fires on the wall in front of a sign reading: “There has never been a good war or a bad peace.”
Several hundred people gathered on both sides of a door in the wall, “committing serious criminal offenses, both attacking the police and attacking each other,” the deputy police chief said of the Northern Ireland Police Service, Jonathan Roberts.
At least seven police officers were injured in Wednesday’s violence – bringing the total to 55 injured in at least four nights this week, Roberts said.
“These are scenes that we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that a lot of people thought to be relegated to history,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the national television channel RTE.
“It has to stop before anyone is killed or seriously injured,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he was “concerned about the scenes of violence”.
“The way to resolve disputes is through dialogue, not through violence or crime,” he tweeted.
Brexit has upset the political balance in Northern Ireland, where some identify as British and want to stay in the UK, while others see themselves as Irish and seek unity with the Republic of Ireland, member of the EU. Both sides blame each other for the ongoing violence.
There is also anger that politicians in Sinn Fein who attended the funeral of a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander last year were not prosecuted for breaking coronavirus rules on mass gatherings.
Authorities accused banned paramilitary groups of inciting youth to wreak havoc.
“We have seen young people participate in serious disturbances and commit serious criminal offenses, and they have been supported and encouraged, and the actions have been orchestrated by adults at times,” said Roberts, the senior police official. .
With Post Wires