Roads reopened after flag protests

Published Friday, 21 December 2012
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Protests over the restricting of the flying of the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall have taken place across Northern Ireland, as police worked to keep traffic flowing on Friday evening.

Roads reopened after flag protests
Protestors move off a south Belfast road to let an ambulance through. (© Pacemaker)

Officers had warned motorists to expect delays, with demonstrations having been planned at a large number of locations in Belfast and beyond.

A number of roads were closed for a time, but have since been cleared.

The Lower Newtownards Road in the east of the city was closed between Bridgend and Templemore Avenue due to a protest taking place, but has since reopened.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "There will be a significant police presence throughout the evening. As always, the primary focus will be keeping people safe."

Earlier, small numbers of protestors had blocked the Boyne Bridge at Sandy Row, while Templemore Avenue at the Albertbridge Road and the Beersbridge Road in east Belfast were closed to traffic.

Donegal Road at Broadway, Sandy Row and Upper Malone Road in the south of the city were affected.

Protests were also held in Bangor, Carrickfergus and Ballyclare.

The demonstrations are into their third week, following a vote at Belfast City Council which saw the number of days when the Union Flag is flown at City Hall reduced to 17 designated days.

While many have been peaceful, violence broken out at some of the protests and a number of police officers have been injured.

Politicians have also been targeted during disorder, with Alliance constituency offices attacked and the party's MP Naomi Long among the representatives who have been the subject of a death threat.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Danny in Ulster wrote (769 days ago):
Geoff in Belfast - This was a carefully planned SF tactic to provoke loyalists and demonise the unionist community as a whole. The fact that it interfered with local trade at Xmas, and caused disruption to commuters wasn't a concern to them as you have already mentioned in your post. SF/SDLP set the trap, and the loyalists fell in to it head first. SF democracy and a shared society at work in N. Ireland 2012.
peter in derry wrote (769 days ago):
Don't be expecting any words on the flag issue from the queen in her wee xmas day speech, I really don't think she gives a hoot bout this place and anyway in 2012 Britain she ain't just a queen of protestism, I mean there is more Muslims now in England than protestants in n.i. The culture of the flag is much different than it used to be and will never be the same
Geoff in Belfast wrote (769 days ago):
We all want jobs. We all want well paid jobs. We all want prosperity. I want a future for all kids. Why couldn't the council have delayed the vote till after Christmas? This will have an enormous impact on local economics. People won't shop. Shops will lose money. More closed stores on our high street during one of the worst recessions we have ever seen. More people out of work. People are leaving my work to get home early to avoid road blocks. Rush hour traffic is at a standstill. That is not good for international employers looking here to invest. I mean, would you invest here if you saw that? Would you? It is beyond arrogance. It is dinosaur politics. A throw back "Everything must drop for the local cultural sensitivities" load of absolute rubbish. I ask you: Did anyone seriously notice the flag at the top of the City Hall? I pass the City Hall every day at least twice and I never noticed it. Am I offended or happy it is taken away? I couldn’t care less. I want to get a promotion at work. I want to pay my mortgage. I want a career path. I want to give a future to my loved ones. I want to make them happy. That is what is important. Not flags! I mean wise up. Also noone has mentioned the stunningly arrogant comment by SF about the whole thing. When asked on Radio Ulster why couldn't they have held the vote after Christmas you know what the SF councillor said? Now get this: "the economy shouldn't stand in the way of democracy". Now if that isn't the height of arrogance and ignorance by a councillor on 65K a year not caring about the rest of society I don't know what is. I'm not just blaming SF here. All the politicians that voted on this are ignorant of the recession and what it is doing to ordinary people.
X pat in south africa wrote (769 days ago):
hey paddy in BELFAST,fine words indeed but if the Shinners in Belfast C.C. had something more constructive to do than to antogonise an entire unionist community just before Chistmas then you might have a case. Oh and please tell the republican movement, provo's,real ira etc about tolerance and understanding towards their fellow protestant irishmen and women - they don't seem to have heard the message for the last 30 odd years.
peter montgomery in belfast wrote (770 days ago):
If I were a city centre trader I would be absolutely livid over the events of the past fortnight. The world-and Mrs Clinton-look on as this insular,parochial city state tears itself apart.The politicians stoke the fires up then walk away;naturally they-like a lot of the disfunctional youths on the street-have a protected job or benefits ad-infinitum .When the cold light of day appears,and the hoped for jobs recede(down South?),the shop vacancy rate hits 30%,and the economy(already the worst in the UK by a mile) contracts further,all they can do is argue about irrelevances.Mark my words,you will hear a lot about the ramifications of the past few weeks,in the opening days of 2013.Invest here? Pull the other one!!
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