Northern Ireland sees 3rd night of unrest amid post-Brexit tensions

A police officer walks behind a police vehicle with flames leaping up the rear after violence broke out in Newtownabbey north of Belfast in Northern Ireland

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland called for an end to the violence and said people destroying their own communities was "not the way to protest or vent".

Three cars were hijacked and set on fire Saturday night in Newtownabbey, an area on the outskirts of Belfast.

LONDON (AP) - Police in Northern Ireland have appealed for calm after officers were attacked and cars were set on fire during a second night of unrest.

The incidents come amid simmering tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol, set up as part of the UK's Brexit deal with the European Union, which has resulting in the establishment of a border in the Irish Sea.

POLICE IN Northern Ireland were targeted with petrol bombs and fireworks during a night of unrest in Belfast that saw two cars hijacked and set on fire.

Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones condemned the "senseless and reckless criminal behaviour that (does) nothing but cause damage to the community".

It followed riots on Friday across both cities following a decision not to prosecute leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions by attending the funeral of a former leading IRA figure during lockdown past year.

A total of 15 officers were injured in the Sandy Row area of Belfast on Friday when a small local protest developed into a riot.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Northern Ireland's police chief over the controversy, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

In Co Antrim, a recent series of drug seizures against the South East Antrim UDA - a renegade faction of the main grouping - have caused particular ill-feeling towards police.

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"Often those who orchestrate these events in the North are never anywhere to be seen when it comes to the arrests and it's very sad, it's very unfair, young people are pushed to the front and are left as the ones that get arrested", he said.

The faction is believed to have been behind some of the weekend disturbances.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly claimed the disturbances were "a direct outcome of the actions of political unionism".

The PSNI on North Road in Carrickfergus.

"By their words and actions they have sent a very unsafe message to young people in loyalist areas".

He said it was "totally unacceptable" that Friday was the fifth successive night of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of the city.

Four adults - three men, aged 25, 21 and 18 years old, and a woman, aged 19 - are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 30 April.

Three teenagers, aged 17, 14 and 13, have also been charged with riot.

As is normal procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

Police said on Saturday night that seven people including three teenage boys have been charged with riot over the Sandy Row disturbances.

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