‘Petrol bombs won’t force us out’ – Long (UTV)

Naomi Long has said the Alliance Party will not be intimidated out of east Belfast following the latest attack on their constituency office.

The East Belfast MP was speaking after three petrol bombs were thrown at the building on the Upper Newtownards Road on Tuesday evening.

A number of windows were smashed and scorch damage was caused.

It is not the first time the office has been targeted but Ms Long, Alliance deputy leader, said any attempt at intimidation is “futile” as the party will continue to represent local people.

She said: “I don’t want to speculate as to who might be behind this attack but if there’s anyone who still believes after all this time that me or my colleagues will be intimidated out of east Belfast I can reassure them that will not happen. These attacks are not just wrong they are utterly futile.”

Police and fire crews were called to the petrol bombing at around 11pm. Two men were seen running from the scene and officers are investigating.

Ms Long continued: “Thankfully the security we have in place and the very swift reaction of the Police Service and the Fire Service meant the damage was entirely superficial.

“There is scorch damage and smoke damage to the building and obviously broken windows where they threw masonry at the first floor windows to break them in order to try and get the petrol bombs inside, but the windows didn’t break completely and the damage is to the exterior.”

The attack has also been condemned “without reservation” by DUP First Minister Peter Robinson who described it as “senseless”, adding: “No cause (was) ever advanced by such criminality.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin, said: “The bigots responsible for last night’s attack on Alliance Party office must be challenged and unreservedly condemned by all political leaders.”

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said the attack is “deplorable”, adding: “It is mindless, pointless, and not in anyone’s interests. I really fail to understand what those who carried out the attack thought they were going to achieve or what cause they were furthering.”

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said: “This is not the first time the Alliance Party has been targeted and it cannot be tolerated. What happened last night was wrong and can never be justified.”

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: “Once again we have seen the targeting of the Alliance party offices. These types of attacks are totally unacceptable. I would appeal to anyone with information on those responsible to pass it to the PSNI as soon as possible.”

Anyone with more information has been asked to contact the PSNI.

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