A council of unionist groups have said that its members were not involved in the recent violence sweeping across Northern Ireland and reiterated their support for a peaceful solution to Belfast’s post-Brexit arrangement.
In a statement released at noon local time on Friday, the Loyalist Communities Council, which represents the views of unionist paramilitaries, said they were seeking an end to the recent violence which has resulted in the injury of many police officers and civilians, but claimed their groups had not been responsible.
“The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) can confirm that none of their associated groups have been involved either directly or indirectly in the violence witnessed in recent days,” the statement read, adding that people should remain vigilant of fake publications and urged unionists not to be drawn into violence.
Without condemning the violence, the council says it hopes the legitimate concerns of unionists are not “allowed to be framed in terms of criminality.” The statement contends that there has been a “complete failure” to understand the concerns of loyalists “as people and equal citizens”.
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The group reiterated its commitment to “remove the hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of our country” and called on all parties to engage in further dialogue.
A further 19 police officers were injured on Thursday in another night of unrest in Northern Ireland. In total, 74 officers have been injured in the week of violence. Riots broke out on both sides of the gates that separate loyalist and nationalist areas of west Belfast.
The anger relates to the ‘protocol’ governing Northern Ireland, under which the British territory remains inside the EU’s single market but outside the trading bloc. Unionists claim the post-Brexit arrangement creates a de-facto border down the Irish Sea, separating Belfast from the rest of the UK.
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