VIOLENCE AGAIN broke out in the eastern part of Belfast last night, on the fourth successive night of protests against a council decision to end the year-round flying of the British flag over its headquarters.
The violence, which saw bricks and other projectiles fired at police officers, had followed a peaceful protest over Belfast City Council’s decision.
Barriers and bottles were thrown at PSNI officials as protestors returned to traditionally unionist areas after holding their demonstration at the nationalist Short Strand area.
Water cannons and plastic bullets were used to disperse the protestors. One PSNI officer was injured but did not require hospital treatment.
The violence occurred in the Newtownards Road, Albertbridge Road, Castlereagh Street and Templemore Avenue areas.
Police said they had come under “sustained attack” from crowds of over 100 who had thrown “petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks and other masonry”. A number of arrests were made.
A 38-year-old who was arrested as part of disturbances on Saturday night will meanwhile appear before Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.
The man will be charged with possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, and with riotous behaviour. He is also to be charged with failing to remove a disguise when asked to do so.
Belfast City Council will meet this evening for the first time since last month’s meeting, where nationalist councillors backed a motion from the Alliance Party to bring the city hall in line with other public buildings in Northern Ireland and only fly the British flag on designated days.
It is unlikely that the decision would be reversed, as the Alliance Party holds the balance of power on the council.