Peace rally held at Belfast City Hall

Published Sunday, 13 January 2013
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A peace rally has been held in Belfast, a day after the city saw some of the most violent scenes since the flag dispute began last month.

A crowd of up to 1,500 gathered at city hall to make noise, which they hoped would allow their voice to be heard.

People of various ages and from different sections of the community clapped, cheered and blew whistles as part of a collective din at 12.55pm on Sunday.

Organisers said they wanted to "stand shoulder with those who faced violence and intimidation and make some sort of statement to those who would listen that our differences should be resolved through democratic means."

"People I've spoken to say they wanted to turn out today to stand for a new Belfast and to stand for peace," said UTV reporter Judith Hill.

Many families took part in the rally, and one father-of-two said he was there for his children's future.

"I don't want my kids to grow up in the country that I grew up in. I was born in 1975 and throughout my childhood all I knew was violence. I don't want that for my kids," he explained.

A woman, flanked by her children, told UTV: "We are living in Belfast and we love this city and we would like to live in a peaceful place. We would like to show our children we can do something."

Organisers say the five minutes of noise symbolised the silent majority speaking out, and a huge round of applause ended the gathering.

Last month crowds joined hands around the city hall, while a non silent event was also held in the city centre.

© UTV News
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65 Comments
BG- exasperated in NI wrote (457 days ago):
SB - I couldn't agree more. Its all a great pity some people turn things into a power struggle. Some of the "pro-nationalists" on this site seem almost "triumpal" in the least to say that unionists are fearful and to paraphrase: 'will see how it feels to have the tables turned, when outnumbered and outvoted'. So nationalists were dominated and are now resolved to dominate? Where does that take us - the road to no-where. Those of us with any wit and sensitivity know there has been injustice in the past. We don't know how it feels to look upon the union flag as a flag of the enemy- we look upon the tri-colour that way !!.Maybe as someone else suggested- we need a new flag and a new identity???
Danny in Ulster wrote (457 days ago):
Michael in Belfast - don't you get it yet? Thats exactly the sort of attitude that is causing the problem. This isn't just about a flag, its the fact that one side is trying to force its policies on the other against their wishes. No union flag, no contentious orange parades, no homecoming parades for British troops, no respect for those wearing a poppy on rememberance day etc. Nationalists are not yet in a majority in Belfast, though they have a majority on the city council. Loyalists have seen a glimpse of the future under a nationalist majority and the removal of the flag is another concession they won't accept.
Michael in Belfast wrote (458 days ago):
Its time Nationalist councillors on Belfast City Council said "If your flag means so much to you, then we will permit you to have it. But get used to the idea of not having it because we will withdraw that permission in a years time." We'll see what happens then.
Red Devil in toronto wrote (458 days ago):
Put the Union Jack back at City Hall. Peace will follow.
Michael in Belfast wrote (458 days ago):
Moving on in Belfast wrote - Many of the same people were there when PSNI officer Ronan Kerr was murdered by dissident scum and when Gaza was being pounded by the illegal Israeli war machine - Well I was at the peace rally for the sectarian murder of David Black. I would say there was a few hundred at best turned out for that yet over a thousand can turn out when loyalists riot!!!! People here seriously need to get their priorities straight or at least have some consistancy.
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BRIAN ROWAN
Twenty years ago there was something said but not really heard.
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