At least 55 police officers have been injured in clashes over the past six days, Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne told the Northern Irish government on Thursday.
In a statement, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the violence and “attacks on police,” adding the “only way forward is to address issues of concern through peaceful and democratic means.”
“Now is the time for the two Governments and leaders on all sides to work together to defuse tensions and restore calm,” Martin said.
“The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality,” Johnson said on Twitter.
Martin and Johnson spoke later that day. “The way forward is through dialogue and working the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement,” a statement from Martin’s office said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appealed for calm on Thursday, telling reporters that the US remains “steadfast supporters of a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice, and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace,” Psaki added.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price added that the Good Friday Agreement, which brought decades of deadly sectarian violence across Ireland to an end, must not “become a casualty of Brexit.”
A statement from the West Belfast Ulster Political Research Group, connected to loyalist paramilitaries the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), said the recent violence has “deflected from the original issues that have caused such dismay and anger within our community.”
Police in the region are still attempting to confirm “whether or not paramilitary groups were involved” in the rioting, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Jonathon Roberts said during a press conference Thursday.
Roberts joined political leaders in deploring the involvement of children as young as “13 or 14 years old” in the rioting who were “encouraged and supported by adults who stood by and clapped.”
Brandon Lewis, the UK’s representative to Northern Ireland, is to meet with political leaders, community and faith leaders in the region, according to a statement from his office Thursday.
Lewis welcomed a statement from the Northern Irish Executive on Thursday condemning the violence, adding that he would do all he could to “continue to facilitate further constructive discussions on the way forward over the coming days.”
The rioting became the subject of a parliamentary debate amongst Northern Irish lawmakers on Thursday. Arlene Foster, the region’s First Minister, said the disturbances had caused great “harm” to Northern Ireland’s reputation during its centenary year.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, one of the political figures to attend the contentious funeral, called it “a miracle that as we stand here today that no one has been killed” by Wednesday’s violence.
While the LCC said opposition would be peaceful, the letter said the groups would not rejoin “until our rights under the Agreement are restored and the (Brexit) protocol amended to ensure unfettered access for goods, services and citizens throughout the United Kingdom.”
LCC chairman David Campbell recently said: “it’s very easy for matters to spiral out of control, that’s why it is essential for dialogue to take place.”
CNN’s Nic Robertson, James Griffiths, Tara John, DJ Judd contributed reporting.