(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
The Northern Ireland Executive will reconvene today for an emergency meeting to discuss the ongoing street violence in Belfast.
Last night a bus was hijacked and set on fire, petrol bombs were thrown, and a press photographer was attacked.
🎥 Shocking scenes of violence in Belfast tonight as a bus is petrol-bombed at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road with a device fired at the driver: pic.twitter.com/RPDQHbX0eu— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) April 7, 2021
Clashes also erupted between loyalists and nationalists at the peace wall linking the Shankill and Springfield Roads.
The scene tonight on the nationalist Springfield Road area of Belfast at the Lanark Way interface. pic.twitter.com/q4vTW0zsQ1— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) April 7, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence and said the scenes "deeply concerned" him.
I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist. The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 7, 2021
In a tweet Minister Arlene Foster said those rioting were an "embarrassment to Northern Ireland".
But she also said Sinn Fein were the "real lawbreakers" - a reference to the ongoing Bobby Storey funeral row.
And Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill tweeted that the "violence and street disorder" was causing "huge distress in local communities at this time."
She said "those involved in violence, criminal damage, manipulation of our young people and attacks on the police must stop."
The MLAs are due to return to the Assembly to discuss a motion condemning the violence after more than 40 PSNI officers were injured in disorder over recent nights.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has condemned the violence, saying the only way forward is to address issues of concern through peaceful and democratic means.
I utterly condemn the violent attacks on police, a journalist, and bus driver over recent days in The North.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) April 7, 2021
Now is the time for the two Governments and leaders on all sides to work together to defuse tensions and restore calm.