Northern Ireland’s first minister joins calls for calm after Belfast riots

Stormont’s first minister has joined calls for calm after riots in Belfast, urging young people “not to get drawn into disorder” and parents to protect their children.

Eight police officers were injured after being pelted with bottles, bricks and fireworks in a loyalist area of the Northern Irish capital on Friday evening. Eight people were arrested, including a 13-year-old boy.

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist party leader, 말했다: “I know that many of our young people are hugely frustrated by the events of this last week but causing injury to police officers will not make things better. And I send my strong support to all of the rank-and-file police officers that are on duty over this Easter weekend.

“I appeal to our young people not to get drawn into disorder which will lead to them having criminal convictions and blighting their own lives. I also ask parents to play their part and be proactive in protecting their young adults.”

그만큼 북 아일랜드 secretary, Brandon Lewis, described the incident as “completely unacceptable”.

“Violence is never the answer. There is no place for it in society,” Lewis said. “It is unwanted, unwarranted and I fully support the PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland] appeal for calm.”

He also said his thoughts were with the eight officers injured.

The riots, in Sandy Row, followed four consecutive nights of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of Derry. It comes against the backdrop of tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.

Loyalists and unionists have argued that post-Brexit trading arrangements create barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Tensions escalated further this week after authorities decided not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians over their attendance at a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.

The main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Simon Byrne, the chief constable of the PSNI, saying he has lost the confidence of the community.

On Friday night, the Belfast district commander, Ch Supt Simon Walls, said a “small local protest quickly developed into an attack on police”.

On Saturday he described it as a “real tragedy” that children as young as 13 과 14 were among those arrested. “I think it’s a tragedy that any child in Northern Ireland is sitting in a custody suite this morning and facing criminal investigation, possibility of being charged and possibility of facing a criminal conviction,”그는 말했다.

“It shouldn’t happen. And that’s why I’m very keen that people with influence try to ask anyone intent on violence to please step back. It’s not the way to resolve tensions or arguments.

“I would encourage anyone who has influence to use it now and stop the rioting before anyone else is injured, or worse.

“Local communities do not want to be dragged back to the past. They deserve to live in safe and peaceful areas, free from rioting, violence and wanton destruction of their communities,” he added.

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