Three arrests after city flag protests

Published Saturday, 19 January 2013
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Two teenagers and a man have been arrested in east Belfast following loyalist flag protests in the city.

Three arrests after city flag protests
Protestors walk from the Belfast city hall to the Newtownards Road (© Pacemaker)

They were detained on Saturday and are currently in custody assisting police with their inquiries.

The teenagers, aged 15 and 18, have been arrested on suspicion of riotous assembly on the Albertbridge Road.

The 20-year-old man was held on the lower Newtownards Road on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and provocative conduct.

Meanwhile, a PSNI spokesperson said a flag protest passed without incident in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim where a road block was cleared by police.

Earlier around 600 protestors staged a flag protest at Belfast City Hall amid a heavy police presence.

They had made their way to the city centre for the seventh week since the dispute began following a vote to restrict the number of days the Union flag flies over city hall to 18 designated days.

A large number of police landrovers lined the area around city hall and the protest passed off without incident.

Later protestors returned to east Belfast via Middlepath Street and the Lower Newtownards Road near the Short Strand interface. The Albertbridge Road and Castlereagh Street areas were closed for a time in the afternoon before crowds dispersed.

The flag protest in east Belfast has now ended and all roads have been reopened to traffic.

Police said neighbourhood policing teams were involved in patrolling the interface.

"The area was quiet and we will continue to provide attention to these areas," a PSNI spokesperson said.

Last week, severe rioting broke out in east Belfast following violent clashes between loyalist and nationalist crowds in the Short Strand area.

Sunday will see the Union flag fly at City Hall on one of the designated days to celebrate the Countess of Wessex's birthday.

© UTV News
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35 Comments
denise in co antrim wrote (551 days ago):
What is peaceful about blocking roads and disrupting drivers to the extent that they need to either divert or return home? What is peaceful about chanting sectarian comments, shouting verbal abuse, bashing cars with flags and firing missiles at the PSNI? To the Nationalists, what is being achieved by throwing stones and bottles and damaging property? Grief and illness and loss of respect for yourselves. Yes people have a right to protest but when it starts to make a large majority of people in a country uneasy or uncomfortable and job losses are incurred, it has to be stopped and you have to find another more acceptable way to seek a resolution. This type of intimidation is unacceptable no matter what side of the divide it comes from. If the protests were lawful and truly peaceful, there would be no need for heavy policing on the streets. Less policing means less overtime and more money available to create the desired community you are seeking to strive for.
adam in belfast wrote (552 days ago):
@Jimmy in stranraer For over 40 years it was always the unionist way or no way, well they are no longer cracking the whip anymore. Times are changing mate the unionists can't bully their way to get what they wan't anymore.
Respect in Newtownards wrote (552 days ago):
I'm a protestant and I'm deeply saddened by some of the vile comments left on this site and many social media sites. I live in Newtownards and work in a job where Catholics and Protestants work together everyday without incident. Some of my closest friends are Catholics and I have nothing but the upmost respect for them religion has never been an issue or neither has it been a topic of conversation. We are all human beings born on a different side of the fence we all need to learn to respect, tolerate and love one another regardless of our differences. We are known throughout the world as being a great Nation and we spoil it everytime by not standing together. Come on folks reach out your hand of friendship to your fellow man and lets set an example to the world.
Frank in South Down wrote (552 days ago):
These things tend to turn into a Nationalist/Unionist thing. The reality has probably more to do with EU regionalisation and integration. If that is the case, which I believe it to be, we are all being sold down the swanny in equal measure. The picture is much bigger than the cheap suited regional managers in Stormont.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (553 days ago):
At last, some proper policing. No one is entitled to block roads or cause disruption. Everyone has the right to protest but their not allowed to abuse their right, which these loyalists have been doing for weeks now. Well done to the PSNI for not allowing the loyalists to disrupt this concert in Derry.
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