Protesters pelt Northen Irish police with petrol bombs for sixth night

Tue Jan 8, 2013 6:03pm EST
 
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By Stephen Mangan

BELFAST (Reuters) - Pro-British protesters pelted police with petrol bombs and fireworks in a sixth successive night of rioting in Northern Ireland's capital of Belfast.

A crowd of about 100, mostly teenagers, attacked officers on Tuesday in the east of the city but police did not have to resort to water cannon and plastic baton rounds to stop the violence as was the case on Monday.

Riots began last month after a vote by mostly nationalist pro-Irish councilors to end the century-old tradition of flying the British flag from Belfast City Hall every day unleashed the most sustained period of violence in the city for years.

Businesses have been disrupted and Belfast's reputation tarnished by some of the worst scenes seen since a 1998 peace deal ended 30 years of conflict in the province.

"We are already aware of investors who have lost interest in Northern Ireland because of these disruptions," a Confederation of British Industry statement said on Tuesday. The riots had had a detrimental impact on local business and tourism, it said.

Tuesday's trouble began when hooded rioters, their faces covered by scarves, hurled missiles at police riot jeeps following a protest under heavy police guard.

Some sported British flags and one group carried a banner saying "No Surrender", a mantra of loyalists during the province's darkest period, commonly known as the "Troubles".

Most of the protests have involved between 200 and 300 rioters and police say they contained the attacks, arresting 106 people, 81 of whom have been charged with an array of offences.   Continued...

 
Police dressed in riot gear clear Tempelmore of debris placed there by loyalist youths in Belfast January 8, 2013. Violent protests continue in Northern Ireland as loyalists renewed their anger against restrictions on flying the union flag from Belfast City Hall. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (NORTHERN IRELAND - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)