Protestant extremists attack Catholic churches in Ireland

.- Tuesday saw what police have called a wave of intimidation attacks against Catholics in and around Ballymena, a mostly Protestant town northwest of Belfast. The Associated Press reported that Protestant extremists planted a homemade grenade outside a Catholic family's home in Ballymena. The bomb detonated, causing minor damage. Arsonists badly damaged one Catholic-run pub in the village of Martinstown, and caused minor fire damage to the outside of another pub in nearby Rasharkin with two gasoline-filled bottles. In addition, two Catholic churches in Ballymena were vandalized with paint-filled balloons and painted-on anti-Catholic slogans.

No injuries were reported.

Catholic leaders reportedly appealed to the area's Protestant politicians to do more to stop the extremists.

Over the past 35 years of conflict in Northern Ireland, outlawed Protestant paramilitary groups, such as the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force, have threatened Catholics who live in or near Protestant areas despite a 1994 ceasefire and Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord.


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