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PSNI officers meet with loyalists in bid to end protests

Senior officers met with the Ulster People’s Forum over the protests which have been ongoing for almost two months.

Loyalists react during clashes with nationalists at the Short Strand area of Belfast earlier this month
Loyalists react during clashes with nationalists at the Short Strand area of Belfast earlier this month
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

SENIOR POLICE IN Northern Ireland have met with loyalists in a bid to bring to an end the spate of protests which have left dozens injured and seen scores arrested over the past two months.

A PSNI spokesperson described the discussion between police officers and the Ulster People’s Forum as “frank and constructive” and said the focus was on how all protests need to remain within the boundaries set by the law.

The Ulster People’s Forum is a new group which has been closely associated with the current wave of protests. The group’s spokesman Willie Frazer made headlines earlier this month with his plan to bring a protest to Leinster House in Dublin.

The Ulster People’s Forum has agreed to focus on legal and peaceful protests, the PSNI said.

“Discussion also took place in relation to the human rights framework that underpins policing, breaches of the law and the associated criminal justice strategy that is being implemented,” a PSNI statement said.

“Police welcome the announcement from the Ulster People’s Forum which encourages legal, peaceful protest. Senior police officers have agreed to meet with the Ulster People’s Forum in the future”.

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The escalating violent protests began when Belfast City Council voted on 2 December to reduce the number of days the Union flag flies over the City Hall.

The protests in recent days have focused on occupying roads and stopping traffic from passing.

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