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Alliance office torched.

Byline: David Clegg

THE Alliance Party of Northern Ireland blame the violent flag protests on an attempt by the Democratic Unionist Party to unseat their MP Naomi Long.

In 2010, she embarrassed DUP leader and Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson by beating him in the Westminster election.

The cross-community Alliance voted with nationalists to only fly the Union Flag at city hall on designated days.

And they say the DUP were behind 40,000 leaflets distributed in east Belfast to whip up anger against them.

Alliance politicians have since been intimidated and Long has received a death threat.

Another Alliance politician to be targeted is Stewart Dickson, who represents East Antrim in the Northern Ireland assembly.

On December 5, his constituency office in Carrickfergus was torched by loyalists following a flag protest. The building is now a charred wreck and the police say it was lucky no one was killed.

constitu Carrickf torch foll pr pbcait o "Th chee we bott Dickson said: "The DUP had the cheek to suggest that we let the genie out of the bottle by voting for the flag - when the reality was they let the genie out of the bottle in terms of the protest.

"They delivered 40,000 inflammatory leaflets in our party colours to houses across east Belfast telling untruths and downright lies in respect of the Alliance.

"Unionists had an amazing opportunity because for the first time in a century of modern Irish politics, Sinn Fein recognised the flag of the UK and its right to fly in Northern Ireland.

"If I were Peter Robinson, that is what I would have told people - but they turned victory into defeat."

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DAMAGE J Stewart Dickson
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 12, 2013
Words:285
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