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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

PSNI encouraged by latest union flag protest in Belfast

Protestors today did not try to “parade unlawfully into the city centre” – a move welcomed by police authorities.

File photo of a union flag protest in Belfast in December. Today demonstrators did not try to carry out an authorised march from City Hall to the city centre.
File photo of a union flag protest in Belfast in December. Today demonstrators did not try to carry out an authorised march from City Hall to the city centre.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

THE PSNI has welcomed the behaviour of participants at the latest demonstration over the removal of the British flag from Belfast’s City Hall.

A demonstration against last year’s decision to stop flying the flag all year round, and only on 19 designated days of the year, has now become a weekly event outside the city hall.

Previously, however, those taking part in the demonstrations have then tried to march from the City Hall into the city centre, without prior clearance from the PSNI.

Such a march would be classified as a parade, and therefore fall under the strict control of Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission.

No such march was attempted today.

PSNI assistant chief constable Will Kerr said today’s events marked “a sea-change” in the weekly protests.

“The criminal justice consequences for illegal behaviour over the past three months will continue over the coming weeks and months,” he said.

“As we enter the parading season, I would again appeal to civic leaders across Northern Ireland to continue to use their influence to ensure a peaceful and respectful summer.”

Read: Union flag protester Willie Frazer in court

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