On the River Lagan in Northern Ireland lies Belfast, a city divided by religion and politics dating from the time referred to as “The Troubles.” Although the bloody conflict between Catholics and Protestants ended 15 years ago, political tension stills runs rampant in the city. It reached a violent outburst in January 2013, when the City Council declared it illegal to fly the Union flag on public buildings—an exception to be made only on a pre-selected 16 days a year. “Peace walls,” barriers built to separate neighborhoods, still stand. And many on both sides would like to keep it that way.
Devon Smith reports for the Pulitzer Center on the efforts by Sammy Douglas, a Northern Ireland Assembly member, to ease tensions between Protestant and Catholic youth.