Belfast Telegraph

Access to market is restricted for protest at City Hall

By CHRIS KILPATRICK

Restrictions have been placed on Belfast's Continental Market because of the loyalist rally at the City Hall.

Access to and from the market will be restricted to the west gate only, until the protest ends.

Loyalists are due to converge on the city centre to mark the first anniversary of a council decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at City Hall.

Protesters will gather at City Hall, where the popular Christmas market is currently trading, and make their way along Royal Avenue, the Shankill Road, and on to Tennent Street.

The Parades Commission ruled protesters should depart City Hall by noon and be clear of the junction of Royal Avenue and North Street by 12.30pm.

Justice Minister David Ford yesterday said he believed protesters should rethink the staging of demonstrations which he said diverted police resources from dealing with the ongoing dissident republican threat.

"Anybody engaging in such protests needs to ensure they are not only peaceful but lawful," he added. "There has been significant law-breaking in the past, even if parades have been peaceful."

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt ,who has insisted the parade should not take place, has voiced a hope that it is the last.

The co-founder with Peter Robinson of the Unionist Forum which brought an end to almost two months of protests in January, warned the street demonstrations will not succeed.

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