Police injured in east Belfast violence

A hijacked car burns in Connswater Street, overlooked by police.

A police officer has been injured during clashes with loyalist protesters in east Belfast.

Saturday, 08 December 2012
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A PSNI spokesperson said the officer was taken to hospital as police dealt with "pockets of disorder" following the mainly peaceful loyalist flag protest outside Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

He was later discharged.

It is understood stones and other masonry were thrown at police during violence in the east of the city.

The Newtownards Road from Albertbridge Road to North Road was closed to traffic because of the disturbances on Saturday afternoon.

In nearby Connswater Street - just yards from the office of Alliance MP Naomi Long - a car was hijacked and set on fire.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with rioting and with criminal damage. He is due to appear before Belfast Youth Court on Monday.

A 32-year-old man charged with disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest is due in court on 4 January.

Both arrests were made in the Holywood Road area of east Belfast.

On Saturday night, a police spokesperson said they were dealing with minor disturbances on the O'Neill Road in Newtownabbey. Diversions were put in place.

Earlier, police said up to 2,000 people gathered outside the City Hall for a short time to take part in a flag protest which passed off largely without incident.

It comes after a majority of Belfast City Councillors voted in favour of an Alliance motion restricting the flying of the Union Flag over the landmark building to 17 days a year.