Dozens gather at Belfast City Hall to mark anniversary of Union flag protests
More than 50 loyalists turned out to mark the fourth anniversary of the flag protests at Belfast City Hall today.
The small crowd gathered at the entrance to the grounds, where the Christmas market is currently held.
The flag protests started in December 2012 following a vote by Belfast City Council to limit the number of days the Union flag flew from Belfast City Hall from all year round to just statutory days.
Sinn Fein had proposed stopping flying the Union flag completely from City Hall, while the Alliance Party suggested a compromise motion that the flag be flown only on designated days.
Initially the protests against the decision attracted large numbers of people and some were associated with violence after a number of Alliance Party offices were attacked and Alliance elected representatives were threatened.
In total, 15 police officers were injured, as well as a press photographer and two security guards and some protesters.
Unionists said they considered the decision to limit the flying of the flag to be an attack on their cultural identity.
As permission for the loyalist marches was not sought from the Parades Commission, the protests were deemed not lawful.
A handful of loyalists still protest every Saturday afternoon at the front gates of City Hall about the decision.