Two DUP members get death threats

Two DUP politicians in Northern Ireland have become the latest to receive death threats amid serious violence in the region.

An MP and a minister in the Stormont powersharing Executive were singled out and dissident republicans were blamed. On Monday evening a petrol bomb was thrown into the police car of a female officer guarding the office of an Alliance Party MP who has also been intimidated by paramilitaries.

Violence has erupted on Northern Ireland's streets over the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast's City Hall. Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned the targeting of elected representatives. "There is no justification for this type of intimidation from any grouping or organisation," he said.

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP member for Lagan Valley, was informed of the danger to him and his family by police on Tuesday but could not say where the warning came from.

A DUP minister in Northern Ireland's powersharing Government at Stormont, Edwin Poots, has also been threatened and he blamed dissident republicans opposed to his stance on the flying of the Union flag. Mr Poots is the health minister at Stormont and also MLA for Lagan Valley for the DUP.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has also been targeted after her cross-community Alliance Party cast the crucial vote allowing Belfast City Council to reduce the number of days the Union flag flies from the City Hall.

A police officer escaped an attempted murder after the windows of her car were smashed and a petrol bomb thrown in as she sat near Ms Long's office. It was the latest in eight evenings of violence and road blocks which left dozens of police injured, but last night was relatively peaceful.

Mr Donaldson was elected to the Commons in 1997. He said he was appalled by the latest development. "Whatever they may think of my politics as a unionist and someone who is proud to be British, it is beyond belief that people would target my wife and children in this way," he said.

"I won't be intimidated by these threats, just as I have not been intimidated by such threats in the past but this is the first time my family has been threatened in this way."

He said he not only condemned threats against himself and Mr Poots but had consistently condemned those against other democratic politicians. "Regardless of where these threats may have emanated from, this is an assault on democracy itself and when people resort to violence or threat of violence against democratically elected politicians then we really have gotten to a very low ebb," he added.

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