Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Thousands stage Belfast City Hall flag protest

Loyalist protesters converge on Belfast City Hall on Saturday afternoon to protest at the removal of the Union flag earlier this week
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

Thousands of loyalists gathered in Belfast city centre today for a protest against new restrictions on flying the Union flag.

A major security operation is under way to prevent more trouble breaking out at the demonstration in front of City Hall.

There was a heavy police presence in the area but the atmosphere was said to be calm and the crowds have already began to disperse.

Eight police officers were injured and more than a dozen people arrested during overnight clashes between loyalists and riot police.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr earlier confirmed Loyalist paramilitaries have been orchestrating some of the violence seen in the past 24 hours.

He had appealed to those planning on going in to the city centre to protest to stay away and let people get on with everyday business such as Christmas shopping.

"We are also warning anyone who does engage in criminal activity that they will face the full rigours of the law," he said.

"Violence has serious and unwanted consequences for us all and we will robustly investigate all incidents."

"I am urging everyone to be calm, take a step back and think about how this violence is affecting not just their own communities but the whole of Northern Ireland."

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