North leaders to meet on flag crisis
Leaders of the North’s five main political parties are to meet at Stormont today to discuss protests and disruption triggered by the decision to reduce the number of days on which the British union flag flies over Belfast City Hall from 365 to 15 days.
DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will holds talks and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Alliance leader David Ford will attend.
Loyalist protests against restricting the flying of the Union flag over Belfast City Hall have continued despite a joint appeal from First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for the demonstrations to cease.
Hundreds of loyalists have participated in protests in various parts of Belfast and outside the city against the decision by the Sinn Féin, SDLP and Alliance members of Belfast City Council that the flag would fly on 15 designated days rather than all year round.
Major rush-hour traffic disruption was caused in recent days in areas of Belfast such as the Ormeau Road, the Newtownards Road, the Crumlin Road, Sandy Row, Mount Vernon, York Street and in Finaghy. Protests were also held in Derry, and in Ballyclare, Co Antrim.
Police are investigating reports of a shooting at an off-duty policeman in Bangor, Co Down, last night, and two men aged 45 and 60 were arrested. A police spokeswoman confirmed no-one was injured in the incident.