| 14°C Belfast

Belfast flag row violence: We're not going to take it

Close

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a flag protest

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a flag protest

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the  Alliance party office

Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the Alliance party office

Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the  Alliance party office

Police in Carrick come under attack from protestors following a fire at the Alliance party office

Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter

Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter

Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter

Aftermath of riots in Carrickfergus. Photograph by Mark Winter

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest

Protest outside the Alliance Party office in East Belfast belonging to Naomi Long, following the decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the union flag every day. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 4, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Flag. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Protest outside the Alliance Party office in East Belfast belonging to Naomi Long, following the decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the union flag every day. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 4, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Flag. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Paul Faith

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Northern Ireland- 4th December 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest.

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days.  Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest

Loyalist hold protest at Naomi Long's east Belfast Alliance office following a council vote last night which will see the Union Flag only follow certain days. Loyalist protesters pictured on the Newtownards Road during the protest

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Loyalist protestors carrying Union flags clash with police outside the City Hall in Belfast

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Paul Faith

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

Loyalist protestors pictured at Belfast City Hall

/

Alliance party office which was set on fire in Carrickfergus after a protest rally over the Union flag

I write this post even as our offices in Carrickfergus are being burned out by a loyalist mob.

Never in Alliance's history has it faced such an unprecedented challenge, this is not an issue regarding the economy, or civil rights nor is it something that Alliance has done badly.

No, the challenge we face is the outcome of standing by our principles in the face of incredible adversity and threats of violence.

I have received abuse and condemnation in its lowest, most ugly form from people who claim to represent 'Protestants of East Belfast.'

I have news for you, I am a Protestant from east Belfast, I come from a working class, loyalist-Unionist community and somehow I, like the majority of others in my community, manage to avoid behaving like a criminal and animal.

This is no longer about a flag.

Burning down Stewart Dickson's offices in Carrick will not lend legitimacy or draw rational supporters to your cause. We will not be brow beaten, bullied or intimidated for what we believe and for staying the course.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Where are the Unionist politicians now? Where is Cllr Christopher Stalford who had oh so much to say about Alliance before Monday night? Where is Peter Robinson MLA, the man who talks of opening the arms of Unionism to Catholics and moderates?

I understand and I encourage protest, that is how democracy works, as long as it is peaceful. Intimidating our Councillors into leaving their homes, burning down the offices of our MLAs and Ministers and sending sectarian abuse over Twitter to our supporters is not 'engaging in the debate', it's mob mentality.

This is not a protest, this is criminality and barbarism. You just lost the argument.

Stephen Donnan is a community and voluntary worker and an Alliance Party activist. This article originally appeared at stevedonnan.com

Offices set on fire in Belfast flag row

Twitter tags:

#StandingWithStewart #StandingForDemocracy #flags


Related Content








Top Videos



Privacy