Michael McDowell: Violence in North highlights failure at political level

DUP and Sinn Féin should ask whether violent scenes help or hinder progress

April 3rd, 2021: Eyewitness footage has captured protesters in Belfast pelting police van with petrol bombs, with one protester having their clothing catch fire after being hit by a petrol bomb. Video: Reuters

The rash of public disorder in loyalist areas of Northern Ireland bears all the hallmarks of behind-the-scenes orchestration by paramilitary groups which were understood to be dormant. It is hard to understand the motivation for such organised disorder.

At one level, young rioters hijacking vehicles and petrol bombing Police Service of Northern Ireland patrols may have nothing better to do than engage in some early-season recreational rioting. Inconveniences rising from the Northern Ireland protocol hardly affect the rioters’ day-to-day existence.

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