EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

January 13, 2013

29 police hurt in renewed Belfast demonstrations

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — At least 29 police were injured Saturday as protesters clashed in the Northern Ireland capital of Belfast in an ongoing dispute about the province’s ties to Britain.

About 1,000 British loyalists demonstrated peacefully at first until they ran into a group of Irish nationalists in the city’s east, sparking renewed fighting.

Police attempted to control the violence with water cannons and rubber bullets. Demonstrators responded by throwing rocks and firecrackers and torching cars.

Four of the injured police had to be taken to hospital.

The protests began six weeks ago when the city council, which now has a stronger Catholic, pro-Ireland faction, voted to hoist the Union Jack only on designated days. Previously, the flag had been displayed every day.

Protestant loyalists see the move as an attack upon the region’s ties to Britain. Many Catholics would prefer to leave Britain and merge with Republic of Ireland.

Around 70 police officers have been injured and 100 people arrested in the protests. Four more police injuries were also noted during Friday clashes, police said.

Police said several key intersections have been blocked by demonstrators.

The Belfast Telegraph also reported the discovery of a pipe bomb along a road. Traffic movement was severely limited due to the demonstrations and clashes and many residents had abandoned the city to avoid any violence.

There was also a successful countermovement to turn the city centre into a party zone, in an effort to ease tensions.

Many protesters have called the flag decision a step too far, with Protestant nationalists, who used to hold most political power in the region, saying they have become increasingly sidelined since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that until recently had seemed to have the region on the path towards peace.

A summit to find a peaceful solution is planned for the coming week among Northern Ireland Premier Peter Robinson; his deputy Martin McGuinness, from Sinn Fein, the main Catholic party; Britain’s Northern Ireland Minister Theresa Villiers; and Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Changes Coming to No-Fly List Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
Latest World News
Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Today in History August 20 US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Today in History August 19 Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women' Kurdish Peshmergas Retake Mosul Dam WikiLeaks Founder Says He'll Leave Embassy Soon Raw: Israel Destroys Killing Suspects' Homes
Photos of the Week