Union flag flies from the Belfast City Hall

Union flag flies from the Belfast City Hall

JUST over five weeks after it was taken down, the Union flag was flying once again over Belfast City Hall on Wednesday.

It is to mark the 31st birthday of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who is married to Prince William.

The couple are expecting their first baby which will be third in line to the throne.

On Tuesday, police were attacked with petrol bombs and fireworks for a sixth night in a row in east Belfast.

Masked youths erected barricades in an attempt to create a ‘no go zone’ for police around Templemore Avenue.

Police later smashed down the barricades and took control of the streets in east Belfast.

Trouble has flared since December 3 when Belfast City Council voted by 29-21 to only fly the Union flag on 17 designated days of the year.

Some of the protests have been violent and resulted in more than 100 people being arrested and dozens of police officers sustaining injuries.

The Union flag was raised on Wednesday morning before dawn broke.

However, it will be taken down again in the evening much to the anger of unionists and loyalists.

Loyalists are planning to continue their protests with province-wide demonstrations planned for Friday, January 11 as part of its ‘Operation Standstill’ plan to bring Northern Ireland to a halt.

Their key demand is for the Union flag decision to be reverted however this is unlikely as unionists no longer hold the balance of power.

Since last Thursday, east Belfast has become a nightly battle ground between loyalists and the PSNI.

On Monday, Chief Constable Matt Baggott said indiviedual senior UVF figures in east Belfast were orchestrating the violence.”

he riots had become a matter of “national security” after the police said senior loyalist paramilitaries had been involved in the rioting.


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