Protestants and Catholics last night hurled petrol bombs at each other over a Peace Wall as violence intensified on the sixth night of rioting in Belfast.
Loyalist youths threw Molotov cocktails over an interface into nationalist areas, which exchanged fire, and lit flames in the streets as police fought to maintain order.
Unionist thugs also hijacked and firebombed a bus and sent it burning down the Shankill Road while hundreds of others marched on the street.
Meanwhile, masked rebels threw petrol bombs at police at the junction of Lanark Way and attacked a press photographer, smashing his camera and yelling disparaging sectarian terms at him.
The PSNI said 55 of its officers had been injured across several nights of disorder in the country.
Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster were quick to condemn the actions, with the Prime Minister calling for dialogue while the DUP leader said there was no justification for violence.
The Northern Ireland Executive requested an urgent meeting of politicians to be briefed on the mayhem.
The violence over the past week erupted after prosecutors said no action would be taken against 24 Sinn Fein politicians, including deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, for a huge republican funeral during the pandemic.
But at its core is loyalist fury at post-Brexit trading arrangements that have created economic boundaries between the region and the rest of the United Kingdom. They see the Northern Ireland Protocol as undermining their position in the Union.
The gates of the peace wall on Lanark Way were forced open, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists, and shocking video footage showed petrol bombs being launched over from both sides of the wall, in a dramatic ramping up of sectarian violence.
The bus was hijacked by Loyalist thugs on the Shankill Road at an intersection between nationalist and unionist communities.
Masked youths took the handbrake off and let it roll down the hill before the gang launched burning bottles in through the front door and it instantly ignited.
The PSNI’s armoured Land Rover Tangis shot past the vehicle and pulled in front of it to force it to stop, and as they performed the tricky manoeuvre the mob threw stones and further firebombs at them before fleeing.
A gathering of about 500 people, most of them adults, also gathered on the corner of the junction of Lanark Way as events unfolded.
The Good Friday Agreement says that Northern Ireland’s constitutional position within the United Kingdom can’t be changed without the preponderance of people in Northern Ireland voting for such a change, but it seems this is what’s been done with the Northern Ireland Protocol, and this is a betrayal by Boris Johnson.
Being in the EU was the best thing for peace in Northern Ireland, but Brexit was foisted upon them, even though the preponderance of people in Northern Ireland chose to remain.
DUP are responsible for this mayhem, and they’re not attempting to do anything to bring calm to the situation.
Before the Republic of Ireland was at peace and content, where good people from all backgrounds and identities worked together, but now, after seeing how Brexit has affected them and seeing the DUP watch from the sidelines, things are now changing.
Of course, we shouldn’t condone terrorism, because four decades was the result of numerous more decades of gerrymandering, leaving the nationalist community with poor housing and little chance of a job.
But what can we do? For generations, great minds have applied themselves to the Irish conundrum, but until the people from both North and South agree to live in peace, nothing will ever change, and by the looks of things, we’re light-years away from any workable compromise.