Four men were arrested in Northern Ireland last night after police found a bomb in a car that was stopped in the city of Derry, as the U.K. region prepares for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit today.
The bomb was made safe by the British Army and the men, all in their 40s, are being questioned, a spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said today.
The discovery comes after a week of protests in the U.K. region by loyalists, which has left almost 20 police officers injured. More than 1,500 loyalists protested on Dec. 3 in central Belfast at a decision by lawmakers to stop flying the British flag at the city hall every day. The crowd used bricks, bottles and iron bars to attack police.
First Minister Peter Robinson, leader of the pro-U.K. Democratic Unionist Party, last night called on loyalists to “suspend” their protests, after the demonstrations spread across Belfast and into towns such as Ballymena. Loyalists rioted on Dec. 5 in Carrickfergus, a town about 10 miles north of Belfast.
Clinton is scheduled to meet Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. During the early phases of Northern Ireland’s peace process in the 1990s, former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the region and assisted negotiations that led to the 1998 peace deal.
Dissident republicans, who killed a prison officer last month and who want a united Ireland, are trying to reignite the conflict. About 3,500 people were killed during Northern Ireland’s “Troubles”, which spanned three decades.
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