OREANDA-NEWS. In the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, on the evening of Thursday, April 8, there were street clashes with the police, the participants of which threw stones and «Molotov cocktails» at the law enforcement officers. In response, the police used water cannons for the first time in several years and threatened to use plastic bullets.

According to the British edition of the «Guardian», plastic bullets were already used the previous evening. Northern Ireland's Justice Minister, Naomi Long, has called for an end to the violence, blaming «nationalist youth» for the attacks on police officers. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Mihal Martin also called for an end to the unrest.

The riots in the Northern Irish capital, involving young people from the Protestant and Catholic parts of the city, have been going on for about a week. According to the Associated Press, even children aged 12-13 are visible in the street crowds that clash with the police. On the eve of April 7, rioters burned a regular bus. According to the authorities, the photographer was attacked. Some 55 police officers were injured in several nights of clashes.

One of the reasons for the beginning of the riots was the funeral of a former member of the Irish Republican Army group, who participated in terrorist activities, which was attended by high-ranking politicians from the Catholic pro-Irish party «Sinn Fein». The prosecutor's office's decision not to hold them accountable for violating measures to combat the coronavirus has angered protestants loyal to the authorities in London. In addition, the fragile stability in the region was shaken by the UK's exit from the EU.