DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has said he fears riots on the streets of Northern Ireland over the Brexit protocol.
Donaldson was speaking after warning that his party ministers would resign from the Stormont Executive if changes to the protocol are not submitted by November.
Earlier this year, there was a significant upheaval with loyal anger over the protocol of forming a border in the Irish Sea blamed. Donaldson said he fears a return to it.
“The protocol is creating considerable political instability,” he told the BBC Political Thought podcast.
“At the beginning of the year we had people taking to the streets again. There was civil unrest, there was violence in the streets.
“I do not want this to happen, I want Northern Ireland to be peaceful, prosperous, stable, but I’m concerned that if this protocol continues and people become more fearful about the future, then again I will we see people getting back on the streets, and that’s not good because there is potential for further unrest.
“We need the peace process to provide for Northern Ireland, to ensure prosperity for all in Northern Ireland and now this protocol is hindering it.”
He added: “Right now the future of the union is threatened by this protocol and I hope the UK government does the right thing and respects the commitments they have already made to resolve these issues.”
Donaldson said he has been calling all summer against street violence.
“I told the boys on the street it is ‘please do not be on the street’, and you will notice that throughout the summer Northern Ireland has been peaceful,” he said.
“It did not happen by chance, it happened because people like me, my political colleagues and community leaders worked hard and convinced people that politics is the way to solve these issues, not street protests.
“But I’m just saying that if politics fails and we do not find solutions then I’m afraid there will be others who may decide to go into the ditch.
“I do not want this to happen, so I am committed to finding political solutions and I want to do it very soon.”
The protocol was agreed by the UK and the EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
He achieves this by moving many of the controls and processes required for goods in the Irish Sea.
Under the arrangements, Northern Ireland remains the EU’s only market for goods and continues to enforce EU customs rules.
Unionists in Northern Ireland have been adamant against its terms, which provide for additional controls on goods arriving in the region from the rest of the UK.
Donaldson has said the British government committed to protecting Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s domestic market under the New Decade Agreement, New Access, which reinstated Stormont after a three-year suspension.
“All I ask the government to do is to honor the New Decade, the New Approach, to respect that agreement, to respect the basis on which devolution was restored, to do the right thing and to defend our country within the United Kingdom. “Because that’s what the people of Northern Ireland really want,” he said.
Mr Donaldson also claimed that the transfer base would be “undermined” if the New Decade New Approach was not respected.
“I’m not afraid to go to the country, I’m not afraid to go to people and say, ‘this is what I believe and I’m asking you to support the stance we are taking,’ and that ‘s a perfectly reasonable thing. to do in a democracy, “he said.
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