Belfast Telegraph

Officer knocked out during protests

One police officer was knocked unconscious and a second injured during protests in north Belfast.

While the loyalist march in the city centre has passed off peacefully, one man was arrested in connection with the officers being hurt during later d emonstrations, the PSNI said.

Around 3,000 people took part in a rally outside City Hall and a band led the crowds away at 1pm.

Police welcome the fact that the demonstration was peaceful, a spokeswoman said.

"We recognise the effort that went into ensuring that this happened," she said.

"Subsequently, in the north of the city, two officers were injured as police blocked demonstrators at the junction of Tennent Street and Crumlin Road. One officer was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious and a 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with this incident.

"During today's policing operation, the priority was to ensure that normal life in Belfast city centre faced as little disruption as possible for as short a time as possible."

The protesters broke the rule set by the Parades Commission that they leave the City Hall area by noon.

Police said the breach will be investigated using evidence gathered during the event.

"Individuals in breach of the determination should expect to face the consequences of their actions in due course," the spokeswoman said.

The main march was staged days before the first anniversary of the council's decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag to designated days.

It was organised by a group calling itself the Loyalist Peaceful Protestors, with men and women carrying Union flags, banners and posters alleging police brutality. Others dressed up as Santa, Queen Elizabeth and Elvis.

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