Hillary Clinton condemns recent Norther Ireland violence on the same day police discover bombs in Londonderry and County Down

 

Continuing tensions in Belfast cast a shadow over a visit to the city by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who condemned recent violence by loyalists complaining of restrictions on the flying of the union jack.

Mrs Clinton's condemnation came as a death threat emerged against Westminster MP Naomi Long, whose non-sectarian Alliance party supported cutting the number of days the flag is to be flown at Belfast city hall.

Ms Long said she had been warned by police her life was at risk if she remained at her home or in her east Belfast constituency. Two Sinn Fein figures have also been warned of threats to their lives.

Loyalists have already attacked the home of two Alliance councillors and trashed a party office.

Ms Long said she would not allow the threat to prevent her providing her constituency services, adding: “I recognise that there are strong feelings about the issue of flags on both sides. However in a democracy these arguments have to be made in a peaceful way.”

Tonight a number of small street protests took place in and around Belfast, disrupting rush-hour traffic. A city-centre rally is planned for this afternoon.

First Minister Peter Robinson, who has called for a suspension of such protests, described the threats as “an affront to democracy and an attack on us all.” Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein said the threats were “the work of fascists.”

Meanwhile police in Londonderry said they had intercepted a home-made rocket of a type used by dissident republicans, and had made four arrests.

A spokesman said: “This a weapon which is used primarily to attack armoured vehicles and kill the occupants of those vehicles. It has been used extensively in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan to deadly effect.”

Hillary Clinton said she was distressed to hear of the threats, declaring: “There can be no place in the new Northern Ireland for any violence. The violence is a reminder that, although much progress has been made, the hard work of reconciliation and fostering mutual understanding must continue.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road