Eleven held over Belfast flag violence

Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 00:00

Six men and two women are expected in court this morning following the latest  protest by loyalists over the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

The eight were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway following a protest on the Knock dual carriageway area in east Belfast, according to the PSNI.

Protests are now into the eighth week after city councillors in Belfast voted to fly the flag on designated only days. There was already traffic chaos in various parts of Northern Ireland because of heavy snowfalls which left dozens of roads in a treacherous condition.

Three men were also detained on suspicion of a number of offences including disorderly behaviour and obstructing a highway following a protest in the Waterside area of Derry.

There were other protests in Antrim, Ballyclare and Carrickfergus and the coastal road outside the village of Glenarm, Co Antrim.

The arrests came as fears rise that negative publicity is making it harder to attract tourists to Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation says hotels have suffered a “growing number of cancellations” because of the protests.