Road blocked in east Belfast protest

Published Sunday, 13 January 2013
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There was a heavy police presence in east Belfast as crowds lined the streets during a flag protest on Sunday evening.

Road blocked in east Belfast protest
Heavy police presence on Castlereagh street earlier this month (© Presseye)

The Albertbridge Road and Castlereagh Street were closed to traffic for a time, while motorists were advised by police to avoid the area.

A PSNI spokesman said the roads have reopened following the protest.

The area in east Belfast has seen some of the most violent clashes since the start of the flag dispute last month.

On Saturday night, a car was set on fire on Castlereagh Street, while police used water cannon to dispel rioting crowds.

The outbreaks of disorder followed the Belfast City Council decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag to 18 designated days.

Loyalist flag protests have also been held across Northern Ireland since the vote at the start of December.

In total 99 police officers have been injured and 110 people arrested in the last 40 days.

Local businesses have also claimed the disruption has cost them £15m.

Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has called an urgent meeting with local retailers to discuss the downturn in trade over the Christmas period.

Chamber president Joe Jordan said: "There is no doubt that the past two months have been incredibly difficult for traders in Belfast.

"We want to hear the first-hand experience of businesses, along with their views and opinions on the current crisis."

The meeting will be held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast city centre on Wednesday.

Meanwhile First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, NI Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will also meet next week to discuss the flag dispute.

© UTV News
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27 Comments
lorna in limavady wrote (624 days ago):
These people are not real Protestants otherwise they would keep the Lord's day by prayer and going to their churches. The God of the Bible ordered that the Sabbath day is kept holy.
petand in Londonderry wrote (624 days ago):
re Jim in Ballymena. Isn't your town known to be the most sectarian in all Ulster? It's the place where a chapel was picketed for years, the place which refused one of it's sons the freedom of the town because he was Catholic and the place where the locals, an educated lot to be sure,objected to street signs in Ullans thinking it was Irish. But worst of all I remember the brutal murder of little children, an old lady and the monstrous burning to death of a Catholic man in the street.So go ahead you hypocrite and cast the first stone.
patto69 in Belfast wrote (625 days ago):
Once again the motive seems to be protest as close to the interface as possible in order to try and engineer some sort of confrontation. Why are the PSNI allowing these situations to develop? They seem to be at a loss on what to do and the leadership of the PSNI seems to be on holiday. Sad in its own way.
SHORT STRAND MAN in Belfast wrote (625 days ago):
Just to let everyone know there was an attack on property and a female at the markets before this illegal peaceful protest even reached the strand.what a laugh some of the comments on here.do not be fooled people.
sam in Belfast wrote (625 days ago):
The IRA can murder and kill and plant bombs under police officers cars but if Protestants hold a protest over their Flag its the end of the world , people need to get real.
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