Premises 'ransacked' in Carrick disorder

Published Wednesday, 05 December 2012
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Police say they came under heavy and sustained attack as they dealt with disorder in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, where an Alliance Party office was set alight following a large protest.

Premises 'ransacked' in Carrick disorder
The scene inside the Alliance Party office in Carrickfergus (© UTV)

A number of police officers were injured when bottles, masonry and other missiles were thrown in the West Street area of the town on Wednesday night.

Riot police fired a number of baton rounds as they dealt with the disorder, which started after 7.30pm. Two men and two women have been arrested.

"Crowds have dispersed in Carrick town centre; however police are maintaining a presence in the area", a PSNI spokeswoman said.

UTV's Sharon O'Neill tweeted from the scene: "The situation appears to have been brought under control."

The trouble erupted in the wake of a council vote restricting the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall earlier this week.

Up to 1,600 people taking part in a loyalist protest gathered in the Irish Gate roundabout area on Wednesday evening - the majority of the crowd later dispersed before trouble broke out.

The constituency office of Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson was set alight during the disturbance, causing smoke damage.

This campaign of intimidation against the Alliance Party cannot be allowed to continue.

Stewart Dickson

Other premises in the West Street area were entered during the disorder and windows were smashed.

"The premises were ransacked with substantial damage caused," police said.

Mr Dickson said graffiti was sprayed across his constituency office on Tuesday night.

He said: "This is an outright attack on democracy and cannot be allowed to continue."

"The Alliance Party will not continue to be bullied and intimidated by Unionists," he added.

Leader David Ford previously said the party would not be intimidated after one of his councillors had to leave her Belfast home this week due to a security risk.

The Alliance Party has requested that the Assembly be recalled in light of the violence.

Mr Dickson blamed the DUP and UUP for "whipping up Unionist tensions".

"They must be held accountable for their actions," Mr Dickson said.

I unreservedly condemn the violence. Those involved do a disservice to the flag they claim to defend.

Sammy Wilson

Condemning the trouble, DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson described the scenes in Carrickfergus as "carnage".

"People are entitled to peacefully protest but there is absolutely no justification for the carnage which has been caused in Carrickfergus this evening.

"I urge those involved to step back from this criminal activity and channel their energies through democratic politics," Mr Wilson added.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said violence was "wrong, legally and morally".

"What unionism needs today is brains, not brawn. We need an analysis, a strategy and an agreed outcome," he said.

"I am happy to talk to anyone, if they commit to repent and desist from violence."

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said violence was "unjustifiable".

"Stewart Dickson is doing his best for the people of East Antrim and an attack on him is an attack on everybody in East Antrim," he said.

"The SDLP stands fully with the Alliance Party in utter abhorrence to this attack."

On Monday night 18 people were hurt when violence flared in Belfast following the passing of the Alliance motion. First Minister Peter Robinson described the scenes as "totally unacceptable".

Police in Carrickfergus liased with local community representatives in their effort to restore calm.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
59 Comments
paul in carrickfergus wrote (615 days ago):
As you can see from the utv vote, results are in favour of our flag flying freely all year round. After all Northern Ireland is British. Anyone dissagreeing to the flying of their "national flag" has obviously got alterior motives. nationalists are people who are totally against any British presence in Northern Ireland, why are these people allowed in politics in a country in which they have nil support and they're only aim is to destroy the union and become part of ireland. Polititions in Stormount should stand up for the people that 'genuinly' want the best for Northern Ireland, we all need to stop compromising with nationalists, if they want to be irish, then they're in the wrong place. We are British.
Stansyerman in United Kingdom of GB and NI wrote (620 days ago):
The people of NI have in two world wars sacrificed generations in the name of the United Kingdom. If it were not for the people of NI there would not be a Union Flag. The fact that NI was British during WWII saved the lives of many allied men,women and children from the submarine menace during the battle of the atlantic. At the same time,republicans aided the facists and plotted the downfall of GB. These people wish to fly the flag of the RoI in place of the Union Flag. Why has the council not had a vote about the tricolour that flies all year round on top of the Divis flats? Long may the union flag that was fought for by our fathers fly in the UK of GB and N Ireland!
Lisa in Carrickfergus wrote (620 days ago):
I am sorry but 'Big G' I find what you're saying about Carrickfergus being a 'wee loyalist town' to be inaccurate. A small minority of people turned a peaceful protest into a violent one so to brand the whole town 'loyalist' is just disrespectful. I have lived in Carrickfergus my entire life and I can guarantee that those who were out rioting on Wednesday night were a small minority of this town.
i spy in belfast wrote (621 days ago):
This flag waving is a disgrace,just passed by the city hopital and approx 10 morons are erecting flags on the post of the city hospital ,gate entrance ,this is an orginize setup there leader was standing on the road getting instructions on his mobile phone, its time the police started rounding up theses thugs
Big G in Belfast wrote (621 days ago):
Think its funny that people keep mentioning that the banks windows were broken 2weeks before, who cares?? just goes to show what nice quiet wee loyalist town carrickfergus is, mite take the kids there.........haha
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