Ebene Magazine – Riots in Northern Ireland: Belfast bus drivers protest after the bombing of the metro at the Shankill fault and warn of curfew

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Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – April 8th 2021

Translink bus drivers bring Belfast city center to a standstill.

A hijacked bus was set on fire at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankill Road following a protest last night. Crowds gathered there and on West Circular Road at the junction with Springfield Road.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Jonathan Bell and Lauren Harte

Infrastructure Secretary Nichola Mallon said bus drivers deserved it after the violence in West Belfast that jacked up a tube service and Petrol was bombed to be safe.

The minister spoke after a positive meeting between Translink and the unions, at which it was agreed that Translink would closely monitor the services and the situation on site in the coming days before a Decision is made about the security of running services.

The meeting took place after Belfast bus drivers brought the city center to a standstill Thursday morning in protest of the violence.

Buses parked right around the town hall and gathered on the grounds for the demonstration.

They heard calls from political leaders to give assurances for their safety or they would withdraw services from areas prone to unrest after 6 p.m. by the next morning.

They heard how the bus driver at the center of the attack on Shankill Road was shaken and would take some time to recover.

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IKTU Deputy General Secretary Owen Reidy said support for public transport workers was widespread.

« It’s an act of generosity to your bus mate who was shockingly attacked last night and to the brave police officers and journalists who were also attacked while they were doing their jobs and serving the community, » he said.

« Workers across Northern Ireland will not accept being attacked while doing their duty. Translink workers stand up and loudly announce it. »

He added, « This must stop and it must stop now. All public officials from across the community and anyone with goodwill and influence in interface areas must make it clear that all such protests end before we have another night of violence.

« Young people are like Treated cannon fodder. Somebody is killed. The best public service any decent person with influence can do right now is to keep the spiral from deepening. Politicians need to come together, work together and make politics work. « The interest of the whole community. »

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On Shankill Road, a bus driver was forced out of his double-decker vehicle before it was put into neutral and allowed to roam free while dozens of people, including young children, watched in and out of traffic.

It was then pelted with rockets and gasoline bombs before it caught fire. Adults could be seen directing young people during the violence.

Minister Mallon said: « I can understand why bus drivers gathered at City Hall after the attack on one of our drivers last night, and I have full support and solidarity with them.

 » All bus drivers deserve it to feel safe at work. These officials, men and women, are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.

« They transport our health workers to hospitals, we all to and from work, children to school, them are a fundamental part of our society and have worked on the front lines during this pandemic. They deserve to be safe and they deserve ours. « Respect and gratitude. »

She added: « I again appeal to those responsible to stop these attacks. There is no place for violence in our society. If you attack public services, destroy your own roads, and scare your own neighbors, nothing will be achieved. Enough is enough. We need rest and we need to restore peace to our streets. « 

NIC-ICTU Chair Alison Millar, who is also the head of NI’s largest public sector union, NIPSA, added: » This morning, the debris from last night is being swept away by officials from all communities.

« Health workers treat the wounds of injured police officers and a transport worker. Social workers, teachers and local government workers deal with the aftermath among young people involved in the chaos.

 » The bus workers in Translink are like so are many others, important workers, and have taken the lead during this pandemic. What matters now is that all of these workers have the support of all public officials and that real leadership is shown. « 

News analysis

bonus

Hope for a peaceful end to loyalist tensions went up in flames when violence broke out in the Shankill following a protest at an interface in West Belfast.

Belfast beat

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is holding emergency talks with political leaders this afternoon to ease tension after a week of violent attacks on police.

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