Removal of flag 'provoked' loyalists
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Tuesday 04 December 2012
Recrimination raged in Belfast after 18 people, including 15 police officers, were injured in riots sparked by a dispute over flag-flying. Peter Robinson, the First Minister, described the removal of the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall as "provocative".
Loyalist rioters forced their way into a courtyard of city hall while a council meeting was in progress, flinging bottles, golf balls and other missiles at police on Monday night. The disorder broke out after councillors voted to reduce the flying of the Union Flag to 18 designated days a year instead of every day. The trouble involved a small minority of the 1,000 people who had attempted to lobby councillors. Two security staff and a press photographer were also hurt.
Other isolated disturbances broke out in a loyalist area of east Belfast. The violent loyalists were condemned by all sides, although republicans also criticised police for making inadequate preparations for dealing with such trouble.
Mr Robinson said: "The decision to pursue the removal of the flag from city hall and other council buildings – despite warnings of the likely impact on community relations – was foolish and provocative."
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
- 4 Headaches, fry ups, and hair of the dog - why do we get hangovers, and is there such thing as a 'cure'?
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims