Brexit tensions explode as ‘four men torch bus’ amid violent protests over hated EU deal | UK | News

Video of the vehicle’s smouldering wreck in Newtownabbey, County Antrim went viral on social media after it was set ablaze around 7.45pm. It was widely speculated that members of Northern Ireland’s Loyalist community were behind the action in which no one was injured.

Guy Eslter, foreign affairs editor at Walla News, wrote on Twitter: “The situation in the British province is very tense amid the crisis between London and the EU over Brexit Protocol.”

It follows disturbances on Friday night which left six PSNI vehicles damaged. It involved people on both sides of the community divide between the nationalist Springfield Road and loyalist Shankill Road.

The same area on Wednesday night was the scene of a loyalist demonstration against the Protocol, which Unionist critics claim has imposed a border down the Irish Sea.

Boris Johnson’s Government continues working with the European Union to negotiate a settlement that keeps all sides happy.

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“Buses are paid for and owned by the people of Northern Ireland,” she added.

“Without them people can’t get to and from work, or school, or hospital appointments.

“Our bus drivers are working class people who deserve to be safe in their jobs.”

The latest torching of a bus comes less than a week after two masked and armed men hijacked and set fire to another bus in an attack that local media said was linked to tensions over post-Brexit trade barriers.

Speaking tonight after a bus was hijacked and burnt outside the Valley Leisure Centre, People Before Profit Councillor in North Belfast Fiona Ferguson said: “Another distressing and despicable attack on a bus driver and passengers.

“I utterly condemn this act and those behind it. They do not represent anyone but their own terror agenda.

“Those stoking division from the top must stop. Solidarity to all Translink workers watching this.”

Doug Beattie, the UUP leader said: “Terrorising society with the hope of achieving what exactly?

“This is utterly pathetic and it needs to stop.

“Those responsible do not represent the overwhelming majority who just want a peaceful society.”

Church Road is closed and diversions have been put in place.

Police are instructing the public to avoid the area.

A Translink spokesperson said: “A 2e Metro bus has tonight been hijacked and set on fire in Newtownabbey, near the junction of Church Road and West Crescent. It happened shortly before 8pm.

“The driver and a small number of passengers safely disembarked. Our driver is badly shaken and is currently being supported by colleagues.

“We are very disappointed by this intimidating attack on our member of staff and public transport services in the area.

“We utterly condemn this behaviour and will be working closely with the PSNI to investigate this incident”.

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