Successive nights of rioting by pro-British loyalists in Northern Ireland have overshadowed the imminent visit of the US Secretary of State on Friday.
Hillary Clinton is coming to lend support to the province’s fragile peace, 14 years after her husband as US President helped broker a deal that largely ended three decades of sectarian violence.
For the second night running on Wednesday, more than 1,500 protesters proclaiming allegiance to Britain battled with police in Carrickfergus, a few kilometres from Belfast.
Many are furious at a decision no longer to fly the Union Jack flag at Belfast City Council every day of the year.
There have been several arrests and injuries to police. The authorities say loyalist paramilitaries have been involved with some of the protests.
Northern Ireland has been under a power-sharing agreement between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists.