LONDON, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Northern Ireland Executive said Thursday that it is "gravely concerned" by the recent riots in the region in which more than 50 police officers have been injured.
The Executive said in a statement that it is "gravely concerned by the scenes we have all witnessed on our streets, including those at the Lanark Way interface last night". The Northern Ireland Executive is made up of the first minister, deputy first minister, and eight departmental ministers.
"Attacks on police officers, public services and communities are deplorable and they must stop," the Executive said after a "special meeting" with the region's chief constable on Thursday morning.
"Destruction, violence and the threat of violence are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable, no matter what concerns may exist in communities. Those who would seek to use and abuse our children and young people to carry out these attacks have no place in our society," it said.
"While our political positions are very different on many issues, we are all united in our support for law and order," it added.
It is understood that British Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is on his way to Northern Ireland to discuss the issue.
According to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts, there were "upwards of 600 people present" on Wednesday evening.
A "large volume of petrol bombs" were used, some of which were thrown into the bus, which was hijacked and set on fire. A photographer was also attacked.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday night on Twitter: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist."
"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality," he added.
The latest development followed several nights of unrest in loyalist communities amid tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol within the Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union.
The Northern Ireland Protocol, as an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, was ratified by both the EU and Britain and has been in force since Feb. 1, 2020.
There were also disputes over the police's handling of alleged lockdown breaches by the left-wing party Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey, according to Sky News. Enditem