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Huge loyalist flag protest given the go ahead by Parades Commission

By Claire Cromie

Published 20/11/2013

A Union Flag protest at Belfast City Hall.
A Union Flag protest at Belfast City Hall.
More than 3,000 loyalists marched from City Hall to north Belfast in September, when restrictions imposed by the Parades Commission were breached. Pic Mark Marlow

The Parades Commission has given the go-ahead for a huge loyalist flag protest in Belfast on one of the busiest Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.

The rally on Saturday, November 30 will mark a year since Belfast City Council's decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag from city hall.

Up to 10,000 loyalists and 40 bands could take part, and the commission has imposed some restrictions.

The parade should be finished at city hall by midday, and should have left the junction at North Street and Royal Avenue junction by 12.30pm.

The organisers have also been told to provide adequate stewarding, and that there should be "no undue stoppages or delays" once the parade is in progress.

The parade, applied for by “loyal peaceful protesters” to take place between 2 and 4pm, was marked as "sensitive" on the Parades Commission website.

Business leaders urged organisers to call off the latest planned demonstration, which they said would hit retailers hard on an important Christmas shopping day.

First Minister Peter Robinson also urged protesters to consider the economic consequences.

Organisers said the rally was a protest about "human rights, political policing, PSNI brutality".

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