Bus Hijacked and Set Alight in Apparent Northern Ireland Protocol Protest

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A bus has been hijacked and acceptable alight successful an onslaught politicians person linked to loyalist absorption to Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.

Stormont’s Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, said 2 masked men “muttered thing astir the protocol” arsenic they held the operator astatine gunpoint.

The incidental happened successful the Abbot Drive country of Newtownards astatine astir 6.30am connected Monday.

Two masked and equipped men boarded the autobus and poured substance implicit the conveyance earlier mounting it alight.

The operator managed to get disconnected the conveyance unharmed but has been near severely shaken by the incident. No passengers were connected committee astatine the time.

The charred and smouldering ammunition of the conveyance remained successful the country connected Monday afternoon. A adjacent autobus structure was besides importantly harm by the blaze.

The onslaught successful the predominantly unionist country happened connected the time acceptable by the DUP earlier successful the autumn to propulsion down the institutions astatine Stormont if large changes to the protocol had not been secured.

The DUP has not yet withdrawn ministers from the Executive, insisting advancement is being made successful efforts to dismantle the contentious Irish Sea border.

Epoch Times Photo A constabulary serviceman watches the remains of a autobus that was hijacked and acceptable alight successful Newtownards, Northern Ireland connected Nov. 1, 2021.(David Young/PA)

Opposition to the arrangements that person created commercialized barriers betwixt Northern Ireland and the remainder of the UK was a origin down rioting that flared successful respective loyalist areas crossed the portion successful April.

Ms Mallon told BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show: “Two masked men entered the bus. They held the driver, a male, astatine gunpoint, they said thing astir the protocol, and they past proceeded to spray the wrong of the autobus with flammable liquid. They forced the autobus operator disconnected the autobus and past they acceptable it alight.

“The faceless, mindless cowards who did this person done thing much than onslaught their ain community.”

She added: “We recognize that they muttered thing astir the protocol.

“I bash not cognize what these radical thought they were mounting retired to execute by putting astatine hazard a autobus operator conscionable trying to bash his occupation and attacking a autobus that is determination to transport radical successful the community. It is mindless.”

Bus services successful country person been temporarily suspended pursuing the attack.

DUP person Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “There was ne'er immoderate justification for masked gunmen connected the streets of Northern Ireland and determination ne'er volition be.

“When I outlined DUP enactment connected the protocol astatine the commencement of September, I indicated that enactment was needed wrong weeks. At that clip the European Union was saying that caller negotiations were impossible.

“Since past the EU person agreed to array caller proposals and superior negotiations person reopened with the UK Government.

“No tenable idiosyncratic could contradict that this represents important and affirmative progress. That advancement was secured done governmental enactment and not violence.”

He added: “Our absorption should beryllium connected restoring Northern Ireland’s spot afloat wrong the UK interior market.

“If the EU refuses to hold to the restoration of Northern Ireland’s law and economical integrity past it volition autumn to the UK Government to conscionable its committedness successful the NDNA (New Decade, New Approach) statement to bash truthful done UK legislation.

“That is the roadworthy representation to securing removal of the Irish Sea border. Those engaging successful thuggery lone undermine these efforts and cement the protocol much firmly successful place.”

Ulster Unionist person Doug Beattie tweeted: “Utterly disgraceful, depressing and anserine actions of thugs and criminals. In what mode does this assistance code issues concerning the protocol, it simply hurts their ain community. Wise up.”

Unite the national besides condemned the attack.

Deputy determination caput Davy Thompson said: “Today our thoughts are with the operator and his family, who volition nary uncertainty beryllium precise shaken by his experiences this morning.

“This is simply a autobus driver, retired doing his champion to supply for his family, exposed to the unbelievable fearfulness of being removed from his bus, past watching it pain whilst a section assemblage were near with disruption to their transport links, affecting the quality to get to appointments, schoolhouse and work.

“This onslaught is indefensible and wrong. It served nary intent speech from traumatising a idiosyncratic and undermining entree to nationalist transport for a section community.”

He added: “We would telephone connected each those who whitethorn person power successful our nine to bash each they tin to guarantee that these types of incidents are ended.”

PA

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