A man has been left with a deep facial wound after being attacked while walking along the Oldpark Road in north Belfast.
One man got out and asked for directions but as he did so he struck the pedestrian with what is believed to be a glass, inflicting a deep wound to the victim’s face.
The attacker was then driven off in the car.
Sinn Féin representative for the Oldpark area Margaret McLenaghan said that nationalists needed to be “very careful”.
“There have been a few of these sectarian attacks in the past weeks in this part of the city. If it is a sectarian attack - and the talk is that it is - then it shows that nationalists in north Belfast need to be very careful because there are opportunists about here and they are going to jump out of a car and attack you if they think you are a Catholic.
“People need to be careful at all times but they need to be especially careful coming up to this time of year. There was one attack recently in the Whitewell and one near the Waterworks last week,” she said.
There have been clashes over the erection of sectarian flags in many other areas across the North for the Protestant marching season.
A Catholic priest was told by police he could be prosecuted for ‘theft’ after he removed Union Jacks from outside his parochial house.
Fr Eugene Boland described the police advice as “laughable” after loyalists in Omagh abused him for taking down the flags in a mixed area.
“I should have said that I’ll see him in court then, but I just gave them back,” he said yesterday.
Sinn Féin councillor Sean Begley said: “We see the flags issue as an extension of parading through nationalist areas and it has the potential to boil over to create a serious situation.”
Meanwhile, business leaders in Portadown have been urged to remove flags erected in recent weeks, which nationalists say are an attempt to intimidate them away from the town.
The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) called on the business community in Portadown to “show proper civic leadership and demand the removal of all these flags...in order to create a neutral atmosphere”.
In a statement the group said that over the last three days, the town has been bedecked with “union flags, ulster flags, and orange flags”.
“It is clear that a very deliberate, public atmosphere is being engendered by elements in this town which is designed to enforce the perception that members of the Catholic/nationalist community should feel both uncomfortable and unwelcome in Portadown,” the GRRC said.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson, who is an Orangeman, said: “I don’t know who put the flags up, but I assume that they will have respect for the flag and take them down again after the celebrations are over.”