Belfast Telegraph

George Galloway shrugs off protesters to speak at packed meeting in Belfast's Ulster Hall

By Paul Connolly

Scores of demonstrators waving Ulster and Israel flags shouted abuse on the pavement outside the historic Bedford Street complex as the leader of the Respect Party spoke inside.

More than 1,000 people paid £12 a head to hear the Bradford West MP's views on a range of subjects, from the Middle East to Ireland and Scottish independence.

Asked about the demonstration, Mr Galloway said he wasn't bothered: "Sure it wouldn't be a Saturday in Belfast without a protest."

He said the protest and attempts by the Democratic Unionist party to force the cancellation of the meeting had only spurred ticket sales, ensuring the meeting was sold out.

Demonstration leader Willie Frazer, speaking outside, said Mr Galloway "isn't wanted here" due to his stance on a variety of situations particuarly Northern Ireland and Israel.

There was some low-level taunting between supporters and protesters, but police and Ulster Hall security hall staff moved to halt any potential outbreaks.

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