Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Street protests have to end: MLAs

Loyalists have been protesting against a decision to stop flying the Union flag every day outside Belfast City Hall
Loyalists have been protesting against a decision to stop flying the Union flag every day outside Belfast City Hall
Loyalists block roads in north Belfast as the ongoing flag dispute continues
The scene on the Upper Newtownards Road beside Alliance Party east Belfast MP Naomi Long's office where a PSNI patrol car (left) was petrol bomb reportedly with officers sitting inside
Loyalists took to the streets again in protest against a decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the union flag at Belfast City Hall
Officers deal with disturbances in the Village area of south Belfast
PSNI officers deal with disturbances in the Village area of south Belfast
Officers deal with disturbances in the Village area of south Belfast
PSNI officers deal with disturbances in the Village area of south Belfast
PSNI officers deal with disturbances in the Village area of south Belfast near Broadway roundabout
PSNI officers and loyalists clash in the Village area of south Belfast near the Broadway roundabout
The scene on the Upper Newtownards Road beside Alliance Party east Belfast MP Naomi Long's office where a PSNI patrol car was petrol bomb reportedly with officers sitting inside
SNI officers and loyalists clash in the Village area of south Belfast near the Broadway roundabout
PSNI officers and loyalists clash in the Village area of south Belfast near the Broadway roundabout
PSNI officers and loyalists clash in the Village area of south Belfast near the Broadway roundabout
PSNI officers and loyalists clash in the Village area of south Belfast near the Broadway roundabout
Loyalist protesters in Belfast city centre protest against new restrictions on flying the Union flag
Loyalists in Belfast city centre protesting against restrictions on flying the Union flag
Loyalist protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Shoppers watch protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Shoppers leave Belfast City Hall's Christmas Market as loyalists arrive at the building to protest the removal of the Union flag
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Oprotesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon after the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon after the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Belfast City Hall's Christmas Market is shut as protesters arrive at the building
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon following the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon following the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/12/12 Loyalist protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union Jack flag earlier this week.Photo Kirth Ferris/Pacemaker
Protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon following the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists in Belfast city centre for a protest against new restrictions on flying the Union flag
Loyalists in Belfast city centre for a protest against new restrictions on flying the Union flag
Protesters in Belfast city centre rally against new restrictions on flying the Union flag
Protesters in Belfast city centre rally against new restrictions on flying the Union flag
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
Loyalists converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week

Loyalists should step back from the brink and call off street protests, unionist MLAs at Stormont have said.

The appeal comes after the attempted murder of a woman police officer in east Belfast.

Speaking in the Assembly, the DUP's Paul Givan described the attack as despicable and said protests should be stopped if they could not be peaceful.

Mr Givan, who chairs the Stormont justice committee, said: "It is vital that those who continue to have protests, if they cannot guarantee that there will be no violence; that there will be no blocking of roads and no disruption to people's way of life, that they do not go out onto the streets and they should desist from that activity."

Loyalists protesting over flags were responsible for 43 illegal road blocks across Belfast on Monday night. Violence flared in four areas.

Police were pelted with bricks, bottles, stones and other missiles. A PSNI water cannon was deployed to quell the disorder.

A PSNI patrol car parked outside the offices of under-threat MP Naomi Long was petrol-bombed while a police officer was inside.

The PSNI has blamed loyalist paramilitaries from the UDA and UVF for orchestrating the violence.

Ulster Unionist and former police officer Ross Hussey, who sits on the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said: "Who would bring a petrol bomb to a peaceful protest?

"The people that did this went with murderous intent. These people are not loyalists. They are nothing other than terrorists... and I condemn them for that."

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