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Flag protesters block city roads

Loyalist flag protesters block roads on Friday night

Several roads were blocked in Belfast on Friday evening due to loyalist flag protests.

Friday, 25 January 2013
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Closures were in place across the city, however all roads have since re-opened.

Around 20 flag demonstrations were held across Northern Ireland as part of the campaign dubbed Operation Standstill, with trouble erupting in the Cloughfern area of Newtownabbey.

Around 350 people, including six bands, also attended a protest in Castlederg.

It was the first demonstration to apply to the Parades Commission since the flag protests began in early December.

Participants marched around the Diamond and laid a wreath at the war memorial in the Co Tyrone village.

TUV leader Jim Allister and Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey were among the politicians to address the crowd.

There was a heavy police presence, but the protest passed off without incident.

On Saturday, police are expecting traffic disruption in Belfast city centre and also in the east of the city.

From 12pm to 2pm, the Newtownards Road, Bridge End, Queen's Bridge, Ann Street, Victoria Street, and the Donegall Square area around City Hall will be affected by traffic diversions.

The M3 off slip at Middlepath Street and the Sydenham by pass off slip at Bridge End will be closed to traffic from 1pm to 2.30pm.

Police expect traffic flows in other parts of the south and east of the city to remain unaffected.

Elsewhere, the Ulster People's Forum is set to meet at a Belfast hotel on Saturday morning to discuss its strategy.