Apr 10, 2021 - World

19 officers injured after violence flares in Belfast

Police before a burning vehicle in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 9.
Police before a burning vehicle in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 9. Photo: Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Belfast authorities said 19 officers were injured Thursday night while attempting to disperse riots between Protestant and Catholic communities in the city, AP reports.

Why it matters: It brings the total number of officers injured amid violence in the city over the past week to 74. Tensions have flared between Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland over coronavirus restrictions and the fallout of the Brexit trade agreement.

Context: The conflict in the Belfast conjures up the nearly three decades of violence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" that killed more than 3,000 people and injured about 50,000 that ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

  • Brexit has upset the political balance established by the Agreement, since it created a de facto border in the Irish Sea, per Reuters.

Details: Protesters hurled stones, fireworks and gasoline-filled bottles at officers and each other on Thursday.

  • Police deployed water cannons for the first time in six years in an attempt to disperse the rioters.

The big picture: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin and U.S. President Joe Biden have all called for peace in the city.

  • The Northern Ireland Assembly, which has representatives from both communities, also condemned the violence.
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