The Catholic bishop of Belfast, Northern Ireland, has urged politicians to be more careful about their language as the city is engulfed in nightly violence. Source: NCR Online.
Bishop Noel Treanor also appealed to young people “to stop engaging in disturbance and violent activity now” after 74 members of the police service were injured.
Tension has risen after a decision by the authorities not to prosecute members of the Sinn Féin party — largely supported by Catholics — for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions at a funeral. The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party — largely supported by Protestants — has been deeply critical of the decision and called on police chief Simon Byrne to resign.
The city has witnessed some of the worst rioting in recent years and on Thursday police used water cannon to disperse young Protestants angry at the decision. Gasoline bombs, fireworks and stones were used to attack police. A journalist was attacked, and a bus driver was injured when his public bus was hijacked and set on fire.
“These scenes are deeply concerning for all of us who believe in and have worked together for a shared, brighter future for our society …. I ask politicians to weigh carefully the impact of their words, to avoid the deeply damaging politicisation of civic policing and to use the available mechanisms of accountability and influence to deal with any concerns that may arise,” Bishop Treanor said.
The unrest comes almost 23 years to the day — April 10 — when a peace accord known as the Good Friday Agreement was signed, bringing an end to 30 years of sectarian killing by paramilitaries.
Belfast bishop urges politicians to avoid inciting more violence (By CNS via NCR Online)