United Kingdom, because Unionist anger in Belfast is re-erupting

United Kingdom, because Unionist anger in Belfast is re-erupting

The article by Daniele Meloni

"I am deeply concerned". With these words, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the scenes of violence in Belfast, where police were attacked on Wednesday between the Protestant-majority area of ​​Shankill Road and the majority-Catholic area of ​​Springfield Road. A bus was set on fire, as many as 41 policemen were injured and a photo-journalist was also attacked in the riots. Riots that shook Ulster on Easter days and involved young thugs under the age of 14.

The issue of the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) has always been at the center of the peace talks in Ulster since the Good Friday agreements. The Catholic minority has always complained of a different treatment from the loyalist majority by the police, which in the past consisted mainly of the Protestant working class. Thus, after London, Dublin and Belfast pursued negotiations to achieve power sharing (2007) and a more balanced representation of the two communities in law enforcement and courts (justice is another thorny issue), Protestants they felt "betrayed" for the umpteenth time by London because they had to give up roles and positions they had always held. Given that Ulster is one of the most depressed provinces in the United Kingdom, a good place in the various branches of the PA and public safety is an ambition for many unionist working class families, now increasingly disaffected with the Motherland.

This time the detonator of anger was the funeral of a Republican sympathizer, Bobby Storey, held in June 2020 in full lockdown, and, according to unionists, in contravention of anti-Covid regulations. The decision to dismiss everything by the Prosecutor's Office reaffirmed to the unionists the new reality of a Northern Ireland where even Catholics make their voices heard. And they will make her feel more and more apparently when the results of the online census that took place in March will most likely reveal a numerical overtaking of Catholics against Protestants. With a warning: not all Catholics are separatists and not all Protestants are unionists. Well remark it.

Johnson's words – who significantly expressed solidarity with the PSNI – echoed those of the Northern Irish First Minister, Arlene Foster, who said that "vandalism and attempted assassinations do not represent unionism", and those of the Irish Taoiseach , Micheàl Martin, who "condemned the violence". The Northern Irish executive will meet today to hear the report on the riots and make decisions, but from the Protestant parties there is a rather heavy demand on the table: the head of the head of the PSNI, Simon Byrne, whose position has been defined by the “unsustainable” DUP and UUP.


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/regno-unito-perche-riesplode-la-rabbia-unionista-a-belfast/ on Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:25:57 +0000.