A double-decker bus was completely engulfed in flames after being attacked by rebels near Northern Ireland’s “peace wall” – on the fourth night of violence that wounded at least 55 police, officials said.
The wild video shared by The Sun shows the red bus crawling slowly down a Belfast street on Wednesday night, while a crowd of young men dressed in black threw gas pumps at him.
Soon he was completely engulfed by the flames, with huge clouds of black smoke rising in the air – then leaving only charred remains left on the ground.
“This is not a protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder, ”Prime Minister Arlene Foster tweeted along with footage of the bus attack, calling it “a shame for Northern Ireland”.
The violence is being attributed to growing frustration with the new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Gates have been set on fire over a “peace wall” – separating pro-Irish nationalist communities and pro-UK trade unionists since the “Problems” started more than 50 years ago – as crowds threw petrol bombs at it.
The footage shows groups around campfires on the wall in front of a sign that says, “There has never been a good war or a bad peace.”
Several hundred people gathered on either side of a gate in the wall, “committing serious crimes, attacking the police and attacking each other,” said assistant chief 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 have not seen in Northern Ireland for a long time, they are scenes that many people thought were relegated to history,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the national broadcaster RTE.
“This needs to stop before someone dies or is seriously injured,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he was “concerned with the scenes of violence”.
“The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality,” he tweeted.
Brexit upset the political balance in Northern Ireland, where some identify themselves as British and want to stay in the UK, while others consider themselves Irish and seek unity with the EU member Republic of Ireland. Both sides are blaming themselves for the current violence.
There is also anger that Sinn Fein politicians who attended the funeral of a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander last year were not prosecuted for breaking the coronavirus rules at mass meetings.
The authorities accused illegal paramilitary groups of inciting young people to cause confusion.
“We saw young people participating in serious disorder and committing serious crimes, and they were supported and encouraged, and the actions were orchestrated by adults at certain times,” said Roberts, the senior police officer.
With Post Wires