Brexit may risk rise of ‘Northern Irish loyalists’ says expert
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A black Seat Leon drove through the parade in Newry Street, Rathfriland, hitting several band members. Video from the scene, obtained by the Belfast Telegraph, shows it then continued driving while band members urged the driver to stop.
The incident, which took place after dark, was reported to the police at 8.40pm.
Chief Inspector Michael McDonald commented: "At around 8.40pm, it was reported that a black Seat Leon failed to stop for police and drove into a band parade in the area.
"One man in his 40s and one man in his 30s received minor injuries as the vehicle drove off following the incident."
Carla Lockhart, DUP MP for Upper Bann, said the "brave actions" of attendees could have prevented a fatality.
Two people were injured after a car drove through a flute band (Image: Belfast Live)
The incident took place in the village of Rathfrailand (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)
She commented: "Absolutely shocking scenes tonight in Rathfriland when a car drove through two bands.
"Only for the brave actions of some there could have been someone killed.
"Anyone with any information please come forward. I have spoken with the Police and will ensure this is fully investigated.
Chief Inspector McDonald urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
Loyalist bands frequently parade across Northern Ireland [stock photo] (Image: GETTY)
He said: "Enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and police would appeal to anyone with any information to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1633 17/09/21.
"Alternatively, a report can be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via Online Incident.
"You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/."
Flute bands are an important part of the local culture for many unionists in Northern Ireland.
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Loyalists march to commemorate events like the Battle of the Boyne [stock photo] (Image: GETTY)
They march to commemorate significant events for the Protestant community, such as the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
Eoin Tennyson, a councillor from the anti-sectarian Alliance Party, hit out at the "disgraceful behaviour".
He said: "Utterly reckless and disgraceful behaviour.
"Thankfully no one was seriously injured or killed."
There is anger in unionist communities over the Northern Ireland protocol [stock photo] (Image: GETTY)
Jim Allister, leader of the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice party, urged the police to take action.
He commented: "There is palpable anger across the unionist community following last night's outrageous incident in Rathfriland in which a car was driven into two bands.
"This is entirely understandable as we could very well be waking up to news of many people injured or worse.
"The shocking behaviour captured on film needs to result in a robust PSNI investigation and arrests."
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