Belfast Telegraph

Two injured as car ploughs into Orange Order protest

Worrying: Carla Lockhart
Worrying: Carla Lockhart

By David Young

One man has been arrested and two others are being hunted after a car crashed into a Orange Order protest at Drumcree yesterday, injuring two people - one of them a police officer.

The incident happened at approximately 1pm on the Drumcree Road outside Portadown, when a silver Seat Alhambra people carrier was driven into a group of 20 Orange protesters, hitting a policeman and a member of the Orange Order.

The car then sped off and was later found abandoned in Churchill Park, off the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road in the Co Armagh town.

Three men were seen making off on foot from the car after abandoning it, the PSNI said.

A spokesman for Portadown District No 1 described what happened.

"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," he said.

"Thankfully neither sustained serious injuries.

"The vehicle did stop briefly. However, as police approached it, the car sped off.

"We understand that the car may have failed to stop at a police checkpoint before approaching the parade."

A spokesman from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland also condemned the incident.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart described the incident as very worrying.

"An attack on a protest like this is very alarming, and my thoughts go out to the two people who have been injured," she said.

"I wish them a speedy recovery, and appeal to anyone who has any information about the incident to help the PSNI with their inquiries."

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said: "This is a disgraceful act which I can only assume was carried out to stir up tensions within the community.

"Thankfully, the injuries sustained are not life threatening, but we could have been looking at a completely different situation had these thugs had the opportunity. These thugs need taken off the streets."

PSNI 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."

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