“Alex Easton MLA has today condemned all violence and breaking the law, but was pleased that recent protests in Bangor have remained peaceful.

Speaking today Alex Easton MLA said:

“It is disappointing to me that civic society is quick to condemn, but doesn’t seem to want to understand, never mind address, what is at the root problem of these and other, recent protests. We all also need to consider how did we get here; what brought us to this place and what needs to change? There is massive political and cultural alienation. I’m not condoning or justifying behaviors, it is never acceptable to burn a bus, throw a petrol bomb, or attack a police officer, but part of this anger and frustration is that some in our society have watched and learned that violence or the threat of it has often paid off for Sinn Fein and the Republican movement. Sinn Fein is happy to write and endorse draconian laws for restrictions, safe in the knowledge that they can flout them without recourse. Those laws may be for everybody else, but it seems there is another set of rules for Sinn Fein who appears to be above the law.”

“I want to place on record my full support for the rank-and-file police officers dealing with this on the ground; however, something needs to change at the top. Our community has had enough! Some are expressing their anger and frustration in the right way with peaceful protests, others are not, but that does not invalidate their genuine fears and views which are also shared by hundreds of thousands who do not take to the streets.”

“Two things can be true at once. It is entirely possible to condemn breaking the law and yet still be frustrated at the annexing of Northern Ireland through the NI Protocol, believing this is not the Brexit wether you voted for it or not. Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist (British) citizens, and I am all of these, – no longer feel like they are heard, listened to or valued in what is supposed to be a shared society. When we raise any of these issues publicly, we, as their representatives are told to tone down the rhetoric, tantamount to sit down and shut up. But if we can’t raise our voices for those who elected us and their concerns which we share, here, then where can we? And yes, they are somewhat justifiably angry and frustrated with us as their own politicians.”

“To the rest of my own community who feel ignored and side-lined, I say this: I hear you; I share your views and your frustration. I will represent you and work to restore the imbalances and injustices you feel. In simple terms the NI Protocol has to go and all political party’s need to recognize that, instead of continuing to call for its rigorous implementation.”