'Not my king': Charles III's passage divides Northern Ireland | Death of Queen Elizabeth II

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“ Not My King””: Charles III's passage divides Northern Ireland | Death of the Queen Élisabeth II

In this region of the United Kingdom, the arrival of a new monarch at the head of the country is applauded by some and greeted with indifference , even defiance, by others.

The flag of the Republic of Ireland is prominently displayed in the Republican areas of Belfast.

On Shankhill Road, bouquets have piled up in front of the large mural painted in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, for her June Jubilee.

I have been here several times, admits local resident Brenda, who talks about the importance of honoring the Queen, who ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for 70 years. According to her, the queen contributed to peace in the territory, speaking with both loyalists and republicans.

Flowers were laid in front of this mural painted in honor of the Queen.

This affection is not surprising in this historically Protestant and Loyalist district where many Union Jack, the British flag, fly proudly above the roadway.

We are British subjects, Lisa said simply to explain her attachment to the British crown. For this loyalist, witnessing the arrival of the new King Charles III in her city was a must.

“The United Kingdom, the British government , the monarchy. I'm part of it and I'm proud to be part of it. »

— Lisa, a Belfast resident

Belfast resident Lisa was keen to attend the royal visit.

The atmosphere is quite different just a few hundred meters away.

Once through the walls of peace, this immense structure which separates districts of the city, one could almost forget that there was a change at the head of the British monarchy.

Arriving on Falls Road, the< em>Union Jack disappears. In this historically Catholic and Republican district, it is rather the flag of the Republic of Ireland that flies.

Flowers with colors of the Irish flag in a Republican area of ​​Belfast

He is not our king, says a trader without hesitation, in the middle of a discussion with another resident of the district. We just want to have our country, he says of his desire for Northern Ireland to reunite with the Republic of Ireland, which occupies the south of the island.

In front of his shop, the bouquets of flowers on sale are in the colors of Ireland: green, white and orange.

“This n is only money and wealth. Taxpayers have to pay, while people are struggling. It's scandalous.

—Belfast resident Bernice Quinn

Bernice Quinn denounces the costs linked to the British monarchy.

In Belfast, the walls depicting the faces of victims or local heroes or even the crosses that mark the sites of attacks and scenes of repression are a reminder of the decades of violence that have torn the community apart.

The Good Friday Agreement, marking the end of the conflict, was signed in 1998, nearly 25 years ago.

A mural in a loyalist area of ​​Belfast

Human rights professor Colin Harvey, Queen's University Belfast, says while peace remains, tensions between communities have been heightened by the UK's exit from the European Union. /p>

Brexit has dominated conversations, he says.

Northern Ireland is in a unique situation. This region of the United Kingdom shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south, which is a member of the European Union. To avoid the imposition of a physical border on the island, British and European authorities have planned to impose customs checks on products arriving from the rest of the United Kingdom. This agreement is criticized by loyalists who denounce an erosion of their ties with the rest of the country.

Professor Colin Harvey points out that the Brexit has helped fuel tensions in Northern Ireland.

Another source of tension is the result of the spring regional elections. For the first time, Sinn Féin, the party in favor of the reunification of Ireland, won the most seats in the Legislative Assembly, whose work has since been blocked.

“Will King Charles III preside over the end of the union as we know it in the UK?”

—Colin Harvey, Professor at Queen's University Belfast

To welcome the new monarch, the Northern Irish political class seems, at least for a few hours, to have put their differences aside.

The president of Sinn Féin had refused to attend the royal proclamation ceremony over the weekend. But with elected officials from her political party, she did participate in meetings with the monarch on Tuesday.

Residents of Belfast attend the visit of King Charles.

At a ceremony at the memory of Elizabeth II, we could even see the British Prime Minister Liz Truss and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Micheál Martin, who came from Dublin for the occasion.

I take up my new duties determined to seek the welfare of all residents of Northern Ireland, Charles III said as part of his visit.

A look into the streets of Belfast on Tuesday afternoon bore witness to the different impressions left by the passage of the monarch.

While some residents had their eyes riveted on the ceremonies broadcast on screens giants, others paid no attention.

For some residents of the Northern Irish capital, issues related to the monarchy or communal tensions are not a priority.

Because there are new people moving in, says Connor, a young Belfast resident who rightly believes that it is the demographic changes in his area that will possibly due to historical population divisions.

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