• Sun. May 9th, 2021

Sister of killed Northern Ireland journalist Lyra McKee pleads with rioters to end violence

ByBTV

Apr 9, 2021

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Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019, called on the mobs to withdraw

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019, called on the mobs to withdraw

The sister of killed Northern Ireland journalist Lyra McKee called on rioters last night to end the violence in west Belfast before someone dies.

Nichola McKee Corner spoke after water cannon were used for the first time in six years.

They were deployed on Thursday after police were attacked with petrol bombs, fireworks and rocks in a seventh night of violence.

Police faced attacks with missiles including stones and bottles in the Loyalist Tiger Bay area on Friday night as the violence continued for an eighth night.

Nineteen police were injured on Thursday, on top of the 55 hurt over the previous six nights, as crowds rioted on both sides of the gates that separate nationalist and loyalist areas.

It was also revealed that young people were being lured into joining the rioting through social media.

Miss McKee Corner, whose 29-year-old sister was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019, called on the mobs to withdraw.

She said: ‘I would encourage anyone involved in riots and other disturbances to stop and engage in conversations with community leaders and politicians before it is too late.

‘Destroying property and attacking people does not do anything to further a cause of any kind. In fact it does the opposite.’ 

Yesterday, details were revealed of how Facebook and other social media platforms have been used by agitators.

Fireworks explode on police vehicles after being fired at police officers during clashes with nationalist youths in the Springfield Road area of Belfast on Thursday

Fireworks explode on police vehicles after being fired at police officers during clashes with nationalist youths in the Springfield Road area of Belfast on Thursday

Police officer use water cannon as they clash with nationalist youths in the Springfield Road area of Belfast on Thursday night

Police officer use water cannon as they clash with nationalist youths in the Springfield Road area of Belfast on Thursday night

On Friday night PSNI officers attended the scene at Tiger Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast with riot vans and police dogs in tow

On Friday night PSNI officers attended the scene at Tiger Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast with riot vans and police dogs in tow

Postings list dates and times of protests where hundreds of rioters – some as young as 12 – have gathered to attack each other and police. Hours before some of the worst violence on Wednesday, a Facebook post urged people to ‘join the fight and keep us British’.

That night, a bus was set alight and a burning car was driven at the ‘peace walls’ dividing loyalist and nationalist areas.

Inflammatory online posts include phrases such as ‘no surrender’ and ‘f*** the PSNI’ – Police Service of Northern Ireland. 

Loyalist paramilitaries – suspected of smuggling drugs – are allegedly behind some of the violence, which has also broken out in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Londonderry.

Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie, a Northern Ireland assembly member, said: ‘The South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association is nothing more than a criminal drug gang who put kids on the streets to cause violence on their behalf.’ 

Loyalist parades planned for the coming days are thought to have been cancelled following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

On Friday night PSNI officers attended the scene at Tiger Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast with riot vans and police dogs in tow.

Some officers have come under attack, with missiles such as stones and bottles thrown at them, and reports of petrol bombs being used.

Police officers arrived in riot vans on Friday following more arrest in Belfast. Debris was left in the middle of the road on North Queen Street

Police officers arrived in riot vans on Friday following more arrest in Belfast. Debris was left in the middle of the road on North Queen Street

Police arrived with riot shields on Friday night as unrest took place again. The cause of the unrest has been attributed to frustration over a decision not to prosecute members of Sinn Fein over alleged coronavirus regulation breaches at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey

Police arrived with riot shields on Friday night as unrest took place again. The cause of the unrest has been attributed to frustration over a decision not to prosecute members of Sinn Fein over alleged coronavirus regulation breaches at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey

Loyalist paramilitaries ¿ suspected of smuggling drugs ¿ are allegedly behind some of the violence, which has also broken out in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Londonderry

Loyalist paramilitaries – suspected of smuggling drugs – are allegedly behind some of the violence, which has also broken out in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Londonderry

Inflammatory online posts include phrases such as ¿no surrender¿ and ¿f*** the PSNI¿ ¿ Police Service of Northern Ireland. Objects are seen being thrown towards PSNI officers

Inflammatory online posts include phrases such as ‘no surrender’ and ‘f*** the PSNI’ – Police Service of Northern Ireland. Objects are seen being thrown towards PSNI officers

There is a heavy police presence in the area, with reports that stones were also thrown at police in the nearby, nationalist area New Lodge.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Muir Clarke said: ‘We would appeal for calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in communities, please use that influence to ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm tonight.’

There were sporadic incidents of unrest in Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with reports of a road blocked off with a barricade which was then set alight in Coleraine, Londonderry.

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to participate in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: ‘We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family.

‘The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning.’

Meanwhile, two men are due to appear in court on Saturday after being charged charged in connection with the rioting that took place in Lanark Way, west Belfast on Thursday night.

Detectives investigating the disorder have charged a 24-year-old man and a 32-year-old man with riot.

The 32-year-old was also charged with possession of a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances. They are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court at around 10.30am.

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

Earlier, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill voiced her concern that the violence of recent days will continue throughout the weekend.

The Sinn Fein vice president said: ‘I’m worried about the weekend ahead. We all need to be very careful and very consciously try to do all we can to prevent this happening.

‘I hope and I urge all young people to not engage, do not allow yourself to be used or manipulated in any sort of way, and to stay off the streets, stay home and stay safe.’

She added: ‘I think there’s a strong role here for the two governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I made that point to (Secretary of State) Brandon Lewis this morning.

‘It’s really, really important that we stand shoulder to shoulder and say no to this type of criminal behaviour, and that we don’t allow our children to be sucked in by criminal gangs who are orchestrating some of what we see on our streets.’

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