Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Flag protests: We’re going to make hundreds of arrests, declare police as they trawl CCTV footage

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Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Loyalist protesters on their way to Belfast City Hall
Police clear road of debris on the lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th January 2013 - Trouble breaks out on the lower Newtownards Road this evening.A campaign of street demonstrations has been ongoing since Belfast City Council took a vote on 3 December which limited the number of days the union flag is flown at Belfast City Hall.Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Lower Newtownards Road. Jan 8 2013.
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Loyalists protesting in Belfast. January 7 2013
Loyalists protesting in Belfast. January 7 2013
Loyalists protesting in Belfast. January 7 2013
Loyalists protesting in Belfast. January 7 2013
Loyalists protesting in Belfast. January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Monday 7th January 2013 - Trouble breaks out on the lower Newtownards Road after loyalists protested in Belfast city centre this evening as the monthly meeting of Belfast City Council takes place inside Belfast City Hall.A campaign of street demonstrations has been ongoing since Belfast City Council took a vote on 3 December which limited the number of days the union flag is flown at Belfast City Hall.Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Riots on the lower Newtownards Road January 7 2013
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A burned out car during disturbances which erupted in east Belfast
Police on patrol during disturbances which erupted in east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
PSNI in Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
PSNI officers in Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Sunday 6th January 2013 - A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast this evening following a loyalist protest. A campaign of street demonstrations has been ongoing since Belfast City Council took a vote on 3 December which limited the number of days the union flag is flown at Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Sunday 6th January 2013 - A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast this evening following a loyalist protest.A campaign of street demonstrations has been ongoing since Belfast City Council took a vote on 3 December which limited the number of days the union flag is flown at Belfast City Hall.Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A car burns in the Castlereagh Street of east Belfast
Loyalist protesters block of the Newtownards Road Belfast where shots are reported to have been fired on Saturday January 5 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast City Hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast City Hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast City Hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast City Hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist Protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013. Ongoing protests and demonstrations continue at the removal of the Union flag from the city hall. The protest was largley peacfull with only minor skermishes.Picture Mark McCormick.
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards after a Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall
Willie Frazer at loyalist protests near Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Willie Frazer talks to Sara Girvin as loyalist protestors converge on Belfast city hall. Picture date: Saturday January 5, 2013
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
SNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall.
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards t
Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards road, Belfast January 5 2013
Castlereagh Street area of east Belfast following loyalist rioting January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
A burning barricade on the Newtownards road area of Belfast, where police have been targeted by rioters
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Flag protest at Cluan Place, January 3 2013
Carrickfergus flag protest. January 2, 2013
Carrickfergus Flag Protest, January 2 2013.
Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been protesting since councillors in Belfast voted to limit the number of days they fly the Union flag
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Jackie McDonald has warned that loyalist protests cannot succeed in having the Union flag reinstated above Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalist protestors and PSNI officers pictured at Belfast City Hall on 22 December 2012
Loyalists block the Sandy Row area of Belfast as part of a mass protest over flags
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and First Minister Peter Robinson were among those holding talks about the Union flag dispute in Belfast
Loyalists protesting around the village area in south Belfast December 17 2012
Loyalists protesting, blocking traffic in Derry
Loyalists protesting, blocking traffic in Derry
Loyalists protesting, blocking traffic in Derry
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalist hold protests around the village area in south Belfast
Loyalists taking part in a protest over the restrictions of flying the Union flag protesting outside Belfast City Hall
Up to 1,000 people took part in the cross community Peace Gathering in Belfast city centre
Loyalists in Belfast have been protesting against a decision to reduce the number of days the Union flag will fly from City Hall
Protest outside the Alliance Party office in East Belfast belonging to Naomi Long, following the decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the union flag every day. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 4, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Flag. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a flag protest
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag
Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the Alliance party office
Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the Alliance party office
Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter
Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter
Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest
Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.
Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest
Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast
Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast
Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast
Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall
Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

The PSNI has vowed to take a tougher stance when dealing with loyalist protests — saying they will make hundreds of arrests in the coming weeks.

A senior police officer said a special task force is currently trawling hundreds of hours of video and CCTV to identify those behind disruption and disorder of roadblocks over the past seven weeks.

And he said the number of impending arrests in the coming days and weeks could run into several hundred.

So far there has been a total of 174 protest-related arrests since December 3, with 124 people charged.

Of those arrested, more than half are under the age of 21 — and a third under the age of 17.

Asked how many arrests police expect to make over the next few weeks, a spokesman said he predicted the figure to be a multiple of the 174 to date. Police also confirmed they have contacted the Parades Commission regarding its position on the City Hall protests and marches which take place every Saturday afternoon without permission.

They are awaiting a determination from the independent body on parading issues.

Speaking at police headquarters in east Belfast yesterday, Detective Superintendent Sean Wright said police had launched a firmer response to protests in the past fortnight.

And he said the PSNI is working alongside two senior members of the Metropolitan Police who investigated the 2011 London riots.

He said: “This operation has been ongoing since the start of these protests on December 3, however we have recently dedicated additional officers and staff to it and have opened a new major incident room.

“The team, which is made up of over 70 detectives, police staff and

specialist investigators, will be relentless in the pursuit of those who are responsible for the violence in recent weeks.

“We will continue to work with the Court Service to ensure additional court hearings are available when required to assist us with bringing those arrested before the courts .”

Mr Wright said those identified as having taken part in illegal roadblocks or rioting face arrest.

He said: “My investigative team will continue to rigorously pursue those involved in this disorder and violence and will be relentless in our pursuit of those who are responsible for organising and participating in it.

“Persons who are masking their faces, breaking the law, involved in public disorder and blocking roads will be arrested and we want teenagers to understand that there are serious, potentially life-changing consequences to the actions they decide to take now.”

He said parents of young people involved in the trouble “need to take responsibility”.

In the coming weeks, police will be releasing images of those involved in the violence, Mr Wright said. He said it was vital members of the public who can identify those engaging in criminality contact the police.

Mr Wright confirmed that specialist resources have been dedicated to closely monitoring and reviewing all social media.

He added: “To date, we have referred over 40 cases to the PPS regarding comments made on Facebook and Twitter, however none to date have met the threshold for prosecution.”

A spokesperson for the Parades Commission said: “The commission is clarifying the legal position in relation to the ongoing events taking place in Belfast on Saturdays.”

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