A double-decker bus was completely engulfed in flames after being firebombed by rioters near Northern Ireland’s “peace wall” — in the fourth night of violence that has injured at least 55 cops, authorities said.
Wild video shared by The Sun shows the red bus slowly crawling through a Belfast street late Wednesday as a crowd of black-clad young men lobbed gasoline bombs at it.
It was soon completely engulfed in flames, with huge plumes of black smoke rising into the air — later leaving just charred remains left on the ground.
“This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder,” First Minister Arlene Foster tweeted along with footage of the bus attack, calling it “an embarrassment to Northern Ireland.”
The violence is being blamed on escalating frustration over new post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Gates were set alight on a “peace wall” — separating pro-Irish nationalist and pro-UK unionist communities since the “Troubles” began more than 50 years ago — as crowds threw petrol bombs over it.
Footage shows groups standing around fires on the wall in front of a sign that reads, “There was never a good war or a bad peace.”
Several hundred people gathered on both sides of a gate in the wall, “committing serious criminal offenses, both attacking police and attacking each other,” Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said.
At least seven officers were injured in Wednesday’s violence — bringing the total to 55 hurt over at least four nights this week, Roberts said.
“These are scenes we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.
“This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he was “concerned by the scenes of violence.”
“The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality,” he tweeted.
Brexit disturbed the political balance in Northern Ireland, where some identify as British and want to stay part of the UK, while others see themselves as Irish and seek unity with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. Both sides are blaming each other for the current violence.
There is also anger that Sinn Fein politicians who attended the funeral of a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander last year were not prosecuted for breaking coronavirus rules on mass gatherings.
Authorities have accused outlawed paramilitary groups of inciting young people to cause mayhem.
“We saw young people participating in serious disorder and committing serious criminal offenses, and they were supported and encouraged, and the actions were orchestrated by adults at certain times,” said Roberts, the senior police officer.
With Post Wires