Plastic bullets used to tackle Union Flag rioters after fresh wave of protests
Belfast City Council could face legal action over its decision to restrict the flying of the flag
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).
Saturday 12 January 2013
Disruption and disorder once again broke out in Northern Ireland last night as loyalists carried out their threat to stage major protests in a dispute over the flying of the Union Flag in Belfast.
The actions went ahead despite a week of warnings from political leaders and business figures that the month-long protests are harming the province’s image and the local economy.
At one point last night, police fired five plastic bullets at rioters and deployed water cannon in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim after petrol bombs has been thrown. At several locations, including Cloughfern on the outskirts of Belfast, petrol bombs, bricks and other missiles were thrown at police. In other instances no violence was reported, but large numbers of roadblocks caused serious disruption.
After a vehicle was set alight, bus services to almost all areas were suspended, although many workers left work early to escape the disruption.
Protesters had threatened to launch what they called “Operation Standstill,” posting on the internet a list of roads which were to be sealed off.
Meanwhile, Belfast City Council could face legal action over its decision to restrict the flying of the flag, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said. The party, which opposed the change, has lodged a formal complaint.
A DUP spokesman said: “We believe that, both in its processes and in its decision over the removal of the flag, the council made multiple breaches of its... equality scheme.”
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...