At least 55 police officers have been injured in clashes in the past six days, Police Chief for Northern Ireland (PSNI), Police Chief Simon Byrne, told the Northern Irish government on Thursday.
Clashes were reported in Belfast’s Springfield Road on Thursday evening. Videos posted on social media showed protesters throwing stones at police vehicles on the nationalist side of the peace line. Officers in riot gear with dogs and a water cannon were seen to disperse those involved.
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister Naomi Long urged people “to stop before lives are lost”.
“Totally inconsiderate and depressing to see more violence in interface areas tonight,” Long wrote on Twitter. “My heart goes out to those who live in the area and live with this fear and disorder.”
Earlier Thursday, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin condemned the violence and “attacks on the police”, adding that “the only way forward is to address worrying issues through peaceful and democratic means,” he said in a statement.
“Now is the time for the two governments and leaders on all sides to work together to ease tension and restore calm,” said Martin.
“The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or crime,” Johnson said on Twitter.
Martin and Johnson spoke later that day. “The way forward is through dialogue and the work of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement,” said a statement from Martin’s office.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called for calm on Thursday, telling reporters the US remains “unwavering supporters of a safe and prosperous Northern Ireland where all communities have a voice and enjoy the benefits of hard-won peace,” added Psaki.
State Department spokesman Ned Price added that the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of deadly sectarian violence across Ireland, must not become “a victim of Brexit”.
A statement from the Ulster Political Research Group in West Belfast, affiliated with loyalist paramilitaries, the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), said that the recent violence “has been diverted from the original problems causing such dismay and anger in our community caused “.
Police in the area are still trying to confirm “whether or not paramilitary groups were involved in the riot,” PSNI deputy chief Constable Jonathon Roberts said during a press conference Thursday.
Roberts, along with political leaders, deplored the involvement of children aged “13 or 14” in the riots, who were “encouraged and supported by adults who stood by and clapped.”
Brandon Lewis, the UK’s representative in Northern Ireland, will meet with political, community and faith leaders in the region on Thursday, according to a statement from his office.
The riots became the subject of parliamentary debate among Northern Irish legislators on Thursday. Arlene Foster, the region’s premier minister, said the riots had “badly damaged” Northern Ireland’s reputation during its centenary.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, one of the political figures who attended the controversial funeral, called it “a miracle that, as we stand here today, no one was killed by the violence on Wednesday”.
While the LCC said the opposition was peaceful, the letter said the groups would not rejoin “until our rights under the agreement are restored and the (Brexit) protocol is amended to allow unrestricted access for goods, services and citizens throughout the UK. “
LCC Chairman David Campbell recently said, “It is very easy for things to get out of hand. So it is important that there be dialogue.”
This story has been corrected to take into account that the clashes on Springfield Road occurred on Thursday evening instead of Friday.
CNN’s Nic Robertson, James Griffiths, Tara John and DJ Judd contributed to the coverage.