Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Union flag protesters face court

Two of the most high profile Union flag demonstrators have appeared in court

Two of the most high profile Union flag demonstrators have appeared in court in Northern Ireland charged with a series of offences linked to the loyalist protests.

Jamie Bryson, 23, was refused bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court while Jim Dowson, 48, was granted bail on strict conditions.

Bryson, from Rosepark in Donaghadee, Co Down, has been charged with two counts of encouraging or assisting offenders and four counts of taking part in an unnotified public procession.

Dowson, a former British National Party (BNP) fundraiser originally from Scotland but now residing at The Burn Road, Comber, Co Down, was charged with encouraging or assisting offenders and five counts of taking part in an unnotified public procession.

The protests have been continuing since early December when Belfast City Council voted to limit the number of days the flag flew over City Hall.

A number of the earlier demonstrations descended into violence, particularly in east Belfast, with around 140 police officers being injured.

The demonstrations have become more sporadic and less incendiary in recent weeks, though tensions still surround a weekly march from east Belfast to the City Hall.

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