Belfast has suffered its fifth night of violent protests after some members of a rally held in front of City Hall tried to break into the building.
Police used dogs, tear gas and rubber bullets to force the crowd back, which then returned home towards east Belfast, clashing with the police and nationalists along the way.
“After a month the people still feel very angry and are continuing the protest. They’re trying to continue the protest peacefully, that’s what we want to see; we don’t want violence to drown out the message, but we’ll be calling on the PSNI not to be brutal with the people and to step back and consider how they’re policing these protests because we don’t want to give people an excuse to engage in violence,” said one young loyalist man.
A week of protests have been promised to restore the daily flying of the Union flag over City Hall, but law and order is suffering say police.
“I’ve seen over the weekend, youngsters, 10, 11, 14, 15-year-olds in large numbers without parental control, without any direction, being on the streets,” said the PSNI’s Chief Constable Matt Baggott.
The city council has met for for the first time since taking its decision, but in debates there is no sign of any spirit of compromise to defuse the tensions.
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