Police in Ireland have blamed dissident republicans for the night of violence in Belfast.
Loyalist paramilitaries from the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) started the rioting, according to senior police officers, which sparked a second night of violence in the city. Both the UVF and the republicans have used a range of violent weapons, from empty bottles to bricks, lumps of concrete and petrol bombs, according to Sky News.
A reporter working for the Press Association was writing a story on the unrest in the city when he was shot in the leg. He is said to be in a stable condition in hospital, but has not yet been named. Two other men sustained serious burns, and two men were shot the night before.
On both nights there have been rounds of hand-to-hand fighting, mainly from youths. A 20-year-old woman was arrested for carrying an offensive weapon and assault, although what she had – and why – has not been released.
While the police tried to restore calm, using 60 baton rounds from a water cannon, others petrol bombed buildings and homes. The damage to Belfast is shocking – buildings burn, and businesses fail – a big problem with Ireland’s very fragile economy.
The reason for the violence is unknown – there is much speculation about possible rivalries inside the UVF, while others claim this is simply an overflow of the heavy tension in Ireland at the moment. Whatever the cause, it is clear that this will affect Ireland in many ways – police are struggling to keep calm against a mob who have planned to destroy, and tourism will definitely be affected. No one will travel to a place with such a level of violence and unrest, further damaging the economy.
The Telegraph reports the Deputy First Minister spoke out about the violence, calling on everyone involved to calm down. The First Minister described the incidents as ‘deeply disturbing’.
Screenshot: Sky News