Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Torch relay disrupted by protest

The Olympic torch is forced to be re-routed following a stand-off and scuffle during a protest which blocked the route of the tourch run beside the Peace Bridge
The Olympic torch is forced to be re-routed following a stand-off and scuffle during a protest which blocked the route of the tourch run beside the Peace Bridge
Dissident Republicans tussle with police officers near the Peace Bridge in Derry City, forcing the rerouting of the Olympic Flame over the bridge
The Olympic torch is forced to be re-routed following a stand-off and scuffle during a protest which blocked the route of the tourch run beside the Peace Bridge
The Olympic torch is forced to be re-routed following a stand-off and scuffle during a protest which blocked the route of the tourch run beside the Peace Bridge
The Olympic torch is carried onto the famous landmark of the Giant's Causeway outside the village of Bushmills, Co.Antrim by carrier Peter Jack
The Olympic torch is carried onto the famous landmark of the Giant's Causeway outside the village of Bushmills, Co.Antrim by carrier Peter Jack
Torch bearer Geraldine McCann from Lurgan is pictured arriving at Stormont
The Olympic torch is carried across the famous landmark of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge outside the village of Ballintoy, Co.Antrim by carrier Denis Broderick
The Olympic torch relay from Larne to Portrush
The Olympic torch is now on day 16 of a 70-day relay involving 8,000 torchbearers covering 8,000 miles
The Olympic torch relay from Larne to Portrush
The Olympic torch relay from Larne to Portrush
Kathleen Irvine (left) passes Lisa Hickson the Olympic Flame outside of Carrickfergus Castle on the Torch Relay leg through Carrickfergus
Walter Carswell carrying the Olympic torch through Stormont
Victoria Walsh carrying the Olympic flame during the torch relay leg between Dervock and Portrush
Gabrielle Cardwell carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Ballygalley and Glenariff
Walter Carswell carrying the Olympic flame on the Torch Relay leg through Stormont
Michael Rea carries the Olympic Flame at Belfast Zoo on the Torch Relay leg between Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus
People of Castlereagh line the streets to cheer on 14-year-old Brooke Andrews as she carries the Olympic torch through Dundonald
The Olympic Flame is welcomed to Northern Ireland at the George Best City Airport in Belfast on the first day of a five day relay
The Olympic Flame is welcomed to Northern Ireland at the George Best City Airport in Belfast on the first day of a five day relay
Dempsey Andrews carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Newtownards and Stormont
Carolynn McCord carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus
Brendan Duddy carrying the Olympic flame during the Torch Relay leg between Dervock and Portrush
Stewart Duguid carrying the Olympic flame during the Torch Relay leg between Dervock and Portrush
Louise Lyons lighting the cauldron after the Torch Relay leg between Dervock and Portrush
Louise Lyons (13) carries the Olympic torch
Louise Lyons on the Olympic Torch Relay from Larne to Portrush
Press Eye - Belfast Northern Ireland - Sunday 3rd June 2012 - London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Sports Minister Carl N Chuiln welcomes the Olympic Torch to Parliament Buildings this morning as part of the all-Ireland Torch Relay at Titanic Belfast this morning.Torch bearer John McAlpine from Newtownabbey leaves Stormont.Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Sports Minister Carl N Chuiln welcomes the Olympic torch to Parliament Buildings as part of the relay
Sports Minister Carl N Chuiln welcomes the Olympic torch to Parliament Buildings this morning as part of the relay

The Olympic torch relay has been disrupted following a dissident republican protest in Northern Ireland.

One man was arrested after minor scuffles with police as the flame was about to pass the peace bridge linking the divided communities in Londonderry. Nobody was injured. The torch was re-routed by about 100 yards.

SDLP MLA Mark Durkan said: "We support anyone's right to protest but that has been abused here today in Derry. People are just absolutely disgusted that there will be negative headlines for the city coming out of a great afternoon."

Mr Durkan said there had been an agreement not to disrupt the relay. The protest was not aimed at it, but shoving with stewards broke out and police intervened to push the crowd of around 100 - half of them children - back.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said several dissident republicans were involved.

"Due to a protest that took place at the rear of the Guildhall this afternoon, the torch was diverted past Guildhall Street on to Whittaker Street where it continued on to the peace bridge," she said.

One man was arrested and there were no injuries. The protest has dispersed and was not related to the torch.

Londonderry, where this evening's celebrations were held, has had problems with dissident republican violence and security was tight - an explosive was thrown at police in an attempted murder bid over the weekend. It will be UK City of Culture next year.

The bridge has been built between a disused army base on the shores of River Foyle in a predominantly unionist part of the city and the other, nationalist, side.

The torch started its relay proper from Coleraine, Co Londonderry, and continued through villages and towns including Limavady to Londonderry city. It crossed the River Bann in a boat. Seamus Reynolds carried the torch with an eight-man rowing team. He was picked because of his work in the community.

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