Police attacked as Northern Ireland flag row inflames loyalists

Belfast Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:07pm GMT

A Protestor draped in the Union Flag stands in front of Belfast's City Hall December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A Protestor draped in the Union Flag stands in front of Belfast's City Hall December 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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Belfast (Reuters) - Police were attacked in Belfast on Monday night by loyalists enraged by a decision to remove the British flag from Belfast City Hall, which has sparked eight consecutive days of demonstrations.

About 15 masked men broke out of a mob, smashed the windows of a police car and threw a petrol bomb into it while an officer was still inside, police said.

The officer escaped unharmed but the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said they were treating the attack as attempted murder.

The incident was one of a series of protests across the city on Monday during which stones and fireworks were thrown at police. Police responded with water cannon in at least two locations.

(Reporting by Ian Graham; editing by Andrew Roche)

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