Northern Ireland: Peace rally against latest violence

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Northern Ireland: Peace rally against latest violence

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Around 1,500 protesters held a peace rally at Belfast City Hall on Sunday in reaction to Northern Ireland’s 40th night of violence.

The protest took place hours after 29 police officers were injured during the latest sectarian clashes in east Belfast.

Loyalist anger has built over several weeks following restrictions on the use of union (or British) flag at official buildings. Police say paramilitary groups are behind some of the violence.

The organisers of Sunday’s peace rally said protesters were speaking for “the silent majority”.

“What you’ve seen on TV over the last weeks has nothing to do with what we want for this country or for our children,” said one man.

“We don’t want to go back in time and (the peace march) was really a really positive atmosphere of everybody coming together just to make that statement,” said another protester.

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams called for Northern Ireland’s leaders to show progressive leadership to prevent the disorder escalating further.

First minister Peter Robinson has vowed that the latest disorder will not derail power sharing. He’ll hold talks this week with British and Irish ministers to try to diffuse the crisis.