There has been widespread unrest and violence in Northern Ireland since last week with serious attacks on police in Belfast.
Failure to prosecute Sinn Féin leaders for breaching Covid regulations at a funeral last June as well as the Irish Sea boarder imposed as a result of the UK-EU Brexit deal escalated tensions in Northern Ireland.
More attacks on police, this time from nationalist youths.
Utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas tonight.
My heart goes out to those living in the area who are living with this fear and disturbance.
This needs to stop now before lives are lost. https://t.co/d1xKUIoGaM
— Naomi Long MLA (@naomi_long) April 8, 2021
Rioters began nightly attacks on police using petrol bombs, fireworks and stones in a number of mainly loyalist areas and spreading to a Belfast interface. At least 55 officers had been injured by Thursday morning.
In an effort to halt the violence and disperse rioters, the police deployed water cannons for the first time in six years.
Several officials including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Justice Minister Naomi Long condemned the rioters for using Brexit as an excuse for their “utterly reckless” behaviour.
Conservative MP and former NI Secretary Theresa Villiers, said that “rioting and lawlessness [has] disfigured Northern Ireland over decades”.
“Brexit is not an excuse,” she added.
Justice Minister Naomi Long took to Twitter to express fury over the acts of violence decribing it as “utterly reckless and depressing to see more violence at interface areas” on Thursday night.
“My heart goes out to those living in the area who are living with this fear and disturbance.”
The US also called for peace in NI, with the White House expressing grave concern over the widespread unrest.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis meeting with political leaders today to discuss the issues.