The death of Prince Phillips put an end to the riots in Northern Ireland.
They are expected to continue this week – and will be accelerated.
– Union profile Jamie Bryson says they will put in another gear.
In recent weeks, Northern Ireland has been hit by a new wave of violent riots. The country’s trade unionists are protesting against the British government and the European Union’s demarcation of the border between the United Kingdom and the Irish Islands, which means that goods can no longer be imported between the UK and Northern Ireland despite being part of both countries. Of the British Union.
The protests have escalated several times, with unionists throwing stones and petrol bombs at police, vehicles and areas inhabited by nationalists. 88 police officers were injured in the clash.
Jamie Bryson is one of the most popular activists in the trade union movement. As editor-in-chief of the Unionist Voice, he has authored several books on Irish politics – including “Brexit betrayed” (“Brexit betrayed”), published in January. It describes Britain’s divorce agreement with the European Union and its Northern Ireland protocol as a betrayal of all trade unionists.
– Despite his own measurements, Boris Johnson has beaten Northern Ireland. He said no prime minister could ever be held responsible for drawing a border in the Irish Sea, and then he set a boundary in the Irish Sea, says Jamie Bryson.
Photo: Peter Morrison
Jamie Bryson, one of the most popular activists in the union movement, believes the struggles will intensify.
Uptonbladet meets activist in the port city of Bangor, 20 km northeast of Belfast, where union discontent has erupted in recent weeks. Jamie Bryson says the border issue is one of the many factors that contributed to the unrest.
– The peace process over the last 20 years has been a unilateral process, he says, about the gradual expulsion of Northern Ireland from the UK as a whole and its unification with Ireland.
This, along with random police action and random legal system, has long led to outrage, and this fall is the norm in Northern Ireland, which has made people very angry. For a year and a half I have been saying that the trade unions will not accept a border set in the Irish Sea, so we are suddenly surprised that we are. We don’t play, that’s why we are now.
What is that limit?
– It tears Northern Ireland from England. It puts a border in the Irish Sea, through our country, which is completely unacceptable. There can be no sovereignty anywhere in the world where people accept their territory being cut off. This is the biggest crisis I have experienced in my life as a trade unionist.
Should this be solved by force?
– No, I always think the protests should try to be quiet, but if you want to talk about the introduction of violence to this situation, the Irish government went to the EU and talked about the bomb threats to get political support, so they set that standard. Many young believers say, “If the threat of violence acts to block a border in Ireland, the threat of violence (Britain) can block a border between the East and the West. The responsibility we see on the streets now lies with those who set that standard.”
Photo: Peter Morrison
Murals of Queen Elizabeth in West Belfast.
This weekend, police sirens were heard less and less in Belfast. After the death of Prince Phillips, a large protest march was called off and the Unionists halted their demonstrations in defiance of the British royal family. But Jamie Bryson hopes the unrest will begin again later in the week – and intensify.
– Demonstrations will continue, and some more gear may be added when it comes to non-cooperation, he says.
Prince Philip was buried Saturday. Will they be restarted later?
– Although I do not know if people will wait until Saturday to continue the demonstrations, I could imagine there would be a break this week. If someone thinks we have lost momentum or are tired, they are completely wrong.
Do you think this will be more violent in the future?
– Yes, but no one wants to see violence. Violence undermines purpose and cause. There is certainly a chance that things will go awry, but no one wants to see it. I think peaceful demonstrations are legal and we are at a point where people in trade union-faith circles have to take to the streets and protest.
What do you want the British government to do?
– Tear off the minutes. This does not apply to political stability. If they want political stability in Northern Ireland, the protocol must go. If they want instability, they can keep it. It is black on white.
Photo: Peter Morrison
Conflicts in West Belfast last week.