Five police injured in rioting in Northern Ireland

BELFAST Sat Mar 9, 2013 12:26am GMT

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BELFAST (Reuters) - Five police officers were injured on Friday night in the worst rioting for weeks in Belfast in a dispute over the flying of Irish flags near a predominantly pro-British area, officials said.

A crowd of more than 100 youths threw bricks and bottles at police officers in Newtownabbey on the northern outskirts of Belfast and at least one car was set on fire, a police spokesman said.

Security sources said the trouble started when pro-British youths tried to remove Irish tricolour flags on lampposts and were challenged by police.

A 1998 peace deal largely ended more than three decades of tit-for-tat killings in the British-controlled province between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists seeking union with Ireland and predominantly Protestant loyalists who want to remain part of the United Kingdom.

But Belfast remains a city divided along religious lines and British flags are flown from lampposts in some Protestant areas, while some Catholic streets are lined with Irish tricolours.

Loyalists held near-nightly riots in December and January after a vote by Irish nationalist councillors to end a century-old tradition of flying the British union flag every day over Belfast City Hall.

There have been a series of bomb alerts in Newtownabbey in recent days. A hoax bomb was found outside a Catholic Church on Thursday night and earlier in the week what police described as two "crude but viable devices" were found at a local business.

(Reporting by Ian Graham; Editing by Conor Humphries)

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Comments (1)
Peace_and_love wrote:
I’d like to know whether the editor of this article has ever been to Northern Ireland and more specifically how many Loyalist and Nationalist areas he has visited because I’ve lived in Belfast for 24 years and I couldn’t tell you one Loyalist/Protestant area that isn’t covered in Union flags or that hasn’t got red, white and blue curb stones. “British flags are flown from lampposts in some Protestant areas, while some Catholic streets are lined with Irish tricolours” this statement is so biased you’re basically saying catholic areas a covered in tricolours and that there is only a few union flags flown in protestant areas.

That’s the message I got from reading your article.

Peace and love from an atheist living in Northern Ireland.

Mar 09, 2013 1:06pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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