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Anti-refugee rally at Belfast City Hall draws small crowd: Counter protesters outnumber demonstrators

Published 05/12/2015

Pictured are counter protesters Niamh Muldoon and Christine Ramsey at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Pictured are counter protesters Niamh Muldoon and Christine Ramsey at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Counter protesters at the anti-refugee rally organised by the Protestant Collation held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 05 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )

A small number of anti-refugee protesters have gathered for a demonstration at Belfast City Hall this morning.

Around 30 demonstrators were outnumber by dozens more counter protesters.

The adjacent counter-demonstration, whose main message was one of welcome for Syrians arriving in Northern Ireland later this month, was attended by around 200 people.

The anti-refugee march was organised by a group calling itself the Protestant Coalition.

There was a major security presence in front of City Hall as police stood between the opposing groups, but there was no trouble.

The march has already been widely condemned across the political spectrum.

DUP leader Peter Robinson told the Assembly this week that those intending to demonstrate in Belfast had got the "wrong idea" about the Syrians coming to the region later this month.

Mr Robinson reiterated his opposition to the event as he addressed Assembly members at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

A number of families fleeing the war-torn Middle East state will arrive in Northern Ireland on December 15 as part of the UK-wide resettlement programme.

Around 50 refugees are expected in the first group, with around half aged under 16.

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