Video of the steaming wreckage of the vehicle in Newtownabbey, County Antrim went viral on social media after it burned down around 7:45 p.m. It has been widely assumed that members of the Northern Ireland loyalist community were behind the action in which no one was hurt.

Guy Eslter, Foreign Affairs Editor at Walla News, wrote on Twitter: “The situation in the British province is very tense amid the crisis between London and the EU over the Brexit protocol.”

It follows unrest on Friday evening that damaged six PSNI vehicles. It involved people on both sides of the community divide between Nationalist Springfield Road and Loyalist Shankill Road.

On Wednesday evening, the same area was the scene of a loyalist protest against the Protocol, which, according to Unionist critics, imposed a border along the Irish Sea.

Boris Johnson’s government continues to work with the European Union to negotiate a settlement that satisfies all parties.

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“The buses are paid for and owned by the people of Northern Ireland,” she added.

“Without them, people cannot get to work, school or hospital.

“Our bus drivers are working class people who deserve to be safe in their jobs.”

The latest bus fire comes less than a week after two masked and armed men hijacked and torched another bus in an attack which local media said was linked to tensions over post-Brexit trade barriers .

Speaking this evening after a bus was hijacked and set on fire outside the Valley Leisure Center, People Before Profit adviser in North Belfast Fiona Ferguson said: “Another agonizing and vile attack on a bus driver and passengers.

“I categorically condemn this act and those behind it. They represent no one other than their own terrorist agenda.

“These divisions that fuel the summit must end. Solidarity to all the workers at Translink watching this.”

UUP leader Doug Beattie said, “Terrorize society in the hope of achieving what exactly?

“It is quite pathetic and it must stop.

“Those in charge do not represent the overwhelming majority who just want a peaceful society.”

Church Road is closed and detours have been put in place.

Police are asking the public to avoid the area.

A spokesperson for Translink said: “A 2nd Metro bus was hijacked and set on fire this evening in Newtownabbey, near the junction of Church Road and West Crescent. It happened shortly before 8 p.m.

“The driver and a small number of passengers disembarked safely. Our driver is very shaken up and is currently being looked after by colleagues.

“We are very disappointed with this intimidation attack against our staff member and public transport services in the area.

“We categorically condemn this behavior and will work closely with the PSNI to investigate this incident.”


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