Loyalists target Alliance Party in another night of violence

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More attacks have been carried out on the non-sectarian Alliance Party during a night of violence in Northern Ireland.

The office of Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry was targeted for attempted arson in Bangor, Co Down, while a paint bomb was hurled at the house of a married councillor couple with a 17-month-old baby girl who represent the party in the same seaside town.

Hundreds of loyalists rioted and burned the offices of Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, last night and four police officers were injured after missiles were thrown. Non-lethal baton rounds were discharged.

The violence followed Monday’s decision of Belfast City Council to fly the Union flag only on designated days at its city hall in a measure supported by Alliance.

Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Will Kerr said: “We saw criminal, thuggish, intimidating behaviour here and we need to put a stop to this.”

An Alliance Party spokeswoman said petrol was used at Mr Farry’s central Bangor office but police attended the scene before damage was caused.

Also in Bangor, North Down councillors Michael and 
Christine Bower were at home with their young child when a paint bomb was thrown at the front of the house, smashing a window.

Last night party offices in Carrickfergus were attacked and police pelted with stones and missiles after a crowd of up to 1,600 protested against a decision to restrict the flying of the flag at Belfast City Hall.