Driver makes off after hitting police officer and member of Orange Order during Portadown parade
No indication of a sectarian motivation at this stage, say police
A 31-year-old man has been arrested after a police officer and a member of the Orange Order were struck by a car at a protest parade in Portadown.
A silver coloured Seat Alhambra struck the pair on the Drumcree Road and made off without stopping shortly before 1pm on Sunday.
The car was abandoned a short time later at Churchill Park and witnesses reported seeing three men making off on foot from the car.
Further reports have been received of the same car being driven dangerously through Portadown earlier in the day.
Police say the investigation is ongoing; however there is "no indication of a sectarian motivation at this stage".
Inspector Brian Mills said: “Thankfully the officer and member of the public were not seriously injured but this incident could have been much worse.
"We are working to establish the identity of the driver of the car and I would ask anyone who can assist us with our enquiries to contact officers at Lurgan on 101 quoting reference number 1139 04/08/19.
"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
A spokesman for Portadown District No 1 of the Orange Order confirmed that a member of the district was hit by a car during the weekly protest parade at Drumcree.
The spokesman said: “We had just completed the formal protest and were returning to the assembly point when a vehicle approached and struck a member of the order and a police officer who tried to stop the vehicle.
“Thankfully neither sustained serious injuries.
“The vehicle did stop briefly however as police approached it sped off. We understand that the car may have failed to stop at a police checkpoint before approaching the parade.”
The spokesman added: “We will continue to liaise with police in relation to this incident and trust those responsible with be brought to justice.”
A spokesman from Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland added: “Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland joins with Portadown LOL No 1 in condemning today’s attack on the Drumcree Protest Parade and endorse their call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“We also wish the injured police officer and the member of Portadown District quick recovery.”
DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley said: "This is an extremely worrying incident which could have resulted in serious injuries or potentially even worse.
"I condemn this attack on Portadown District’s parade and protest at Drumcree.
"Police must act swiftly to bring those responsible to justice."
UUP MLA Doug Beattie said: “One police officer and one member of the public were injured on Sunday afternoon during an Orange Order Parade.
“This is a disgraceful act.
“Thankful the injuries sustained are not life threatening. I wish those injured a speedy recovery.
“Three men were seen running away from the abandoned vehicle a short time later. I would appeal to anyone who saw the occupants of the car before, during or after the attack, to contact the PSNI.”
A PSNI spokesman said a 31-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit through drink and drugs, failing to stop and other motoring offences.
He remains in police custody.
Belfast Telegraph Digital