Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Alliance MP Naomi Long hits out at 'fascists' after another attack on east Belfast office

East Belfast MP Naomi Long
East Belfast MP Naomi Long
The Alliance Party office in east Belfast, after petrol bombs were thrown at the premises
The Alliance Party office in east Belfast, after petrol bombs were thrown at the premises

Alliance MP Naomi Long has vowed to stand up to those waging a campaign of violence on her constituency office.

A petrol bomb and two paint bombs were thrown at the party's Upper Newtownards Road office in Belfast in the second attack in as many nights.

Late on Tuesday night a gang was caught on security cameras throwing seven petrol bombs at the offices. The attack has been blamed on the UVF.

Then, shortly before 4am yesterday, a police patrol noticed damage to the shutters at the front of the premises.

On closer inspection officers discovered that paint bombs had been thrown at the property. The remains of a burnt-out petrol bomb were also discovered.

Mrs Long – who described those behind the attack as "fascists" – said she would not be intimidated.

"We will not be deterred by the continued campaign of violence and intimidation towards the Alliance Party," she said.

"Those responsible for this latest attack are frightened by our determination to build a shared future in East Belfast. We will not be forced out of our office. These attacks only increase our resolve and commitment to stand up to those who are casting a shadow of violence on East Belfast."

Yesterday the attacks were discussed at a meeting of the Policing Board, where Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle raised the matter with the Chief Constable.

Mr Lyttle, who shares the offices that were targeted, said the petrol bombers would not deter him or his colleagues from serving their constituency.

"I was reassured that the police will be giving it good, proportionate attention," he said. "They are keen to ensure that the democratic process is protected, not least given that we are in the midst of an election run-up as well.

"Stealing election posters, burning constituency offices and intimidating staff and volunteers is criminal, anti-democratic, anti-community and endangering lives.

"These attacks serves no purpose, are self-destructive and will in no way deter Alliance representatives from delivering a shared and better future for the people of East Belfast."

A meeting involving the PSNI, Church and community leaders was also held locally yesterday in a bid to dispel tensions in the area following a spate of racist attacks.

Police have appealed to anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information to contact them on 101.

BACKGROUND

Alliance's East Belfast office, where MP Naomi Long is based, has been attacked numerous times since Belfast City Council voted to limit the flying of the Union flag over City Hall in December 2012. During one of the worst nights of violence, loyalists threw a petrol bomb inside a PSNI patrol car – with two officers in the vehicle.

Further reading

Alliance Party offices attacked for second night: Paint damage follows petrol bombing

UVF petrol bombers in Alliance office attack caught on camera

UVF blamed for Alliance office petrol bomb attack in east Belfast: 'Criminality of the worst kind' says Martin McGuinness

Police restrain man as he lunges at East Belfast MP Naomi Long

Naomi Long slams fire threats to Skainos Centre in east Belfast

Petrol bombing of east Belfast Alliance offices 'attack on democracy'

Man charged over MP Long bomb alert

Alliance Party offices set on fire in Belfast flag row

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