North Ireland flag row rages amid more death threats

North Ireland flag row rages amid more death threats

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Protesters stormed a Northern Ireland council meeting on Dec. 17 and threatened politicians as unrest sparked by Belfast city council’s decision not to fly the British flag all year round entered a third week.

In one incident, five men covering their faces in scarves and wrapped in Union Jack flags broke into a local council meeting in Carrickfergus, about 17 kilometers outside Belfast. The men, armed with implements including a rolled-up umbrella, banged on desks and shouted sectarian abuse at councilors, Noel Williams, a councilor at the meeting, told Reuters.

An unnamed Alliance Party councilor was singled out by the men and subjected to threatening language, while a crowd of about 20 loyalist supporters waited outside the building, he said.

Some loyalist protesters have targeted members of the non-sectarian centrist Alliance Party for supporting a nationalist vote to remove the flag. Several lawmakers have already received death threats.

Police dispersed the crowd and people were able to leave the building.

A police officer was injured during a riot in Sandy Row, near Belfast city center, when protesters hurled paint bombs, fireworks and missiles at police.

Trouble also broke out in other towns in the province. The decision means the flag will be flown only 17 days during the year, as is the case at the provincial assembly at Stormont.