DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has condemned two overnight attacks by republicans along the Ardoyne interface.
He said that around 4.30 am this morning a Protestant resident of Upper Ardoyne was attacked by two men in Glenbryn Drive as he was walking to his home.
The MP said the victim was called an “Orange B_____d” and he was punched to the ground causing head injuries.
Just over four hours later around 8.50 am, he said two men crossed the Ardoyne roundabout and attacked banners at the Twaddell Avenue Civil Rights Camp slashing around ten banners with knives, while two women were in the camp.
Mr Dodds has now appealed for calm in the area.
“These two sectarian attacks represent a clear attempt by certain republicans to increase tension and fears at interface communities,” said the north Belfast MP.
“Those responsible are enemies of peace and good relations. The cowardly and unprovoked attack on a Protestant man making his way home was followed by an act of sectarian vandalism against the civil rights camp at Twaddell.
“The man received head injuries and was knocked to the ground after being called an ‘Orange B____’.
“There were two women present in the Civil Rights Camp at the time of the knife attack and whilst they were not directly threatened it will have been a terrifying incident for them, particularly as there was no police presence at the time.
“These premeditated sectarian attacks will be condemned by all right-thinking people and must be condemned from across the political spectrum.
“I appeal for calm in the face of these provocative attacks and for no escalation.
“I urge anyone who can assist the police investigation into these despicable crimes to pass on whatever information they have.”
He has called the PSNI to increase their resources in this area to provide reassurance and to prevent any further attacks.
Mr Dodds added: “It is a cause of huge concern that there was no police presence at Ardoyne roundabout at the time of the knife attack.
“The DUP will be seeking a meeting with the PSNI District Commander in the wake of these attacks.
“We know that certain Republicans are fixated on sectarian violence and terrorism and have mounted a series of gun and bomb attacks around Ardoyne and elsewhere this year.
“They seek to drag society backwards into sectarian conflict but they will not succeed. The entire community must unite in rejecting such violence.”