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Belfast Union flag protest: Loyalists assault Catholic homes, church

Written on:January 15, 2024
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Niall O Donnaighaile, a Sinn Fein councillor from Belfast, has said the violence was a well planned assault on Belfast’s Catholics

The protests in Belfast, over the Union flag dispute, continued on Monday as petrol bombs and other missiles were flung in east Belfast on Monday night. Petrol bombs were chucked by loyalist rioters in the direction of a Catholic Church in Short Strand. An employee of St. Matthew’s Church has remarked that the loyalist protesters assaulted residences, adjacent to the church, with stones, petrol bombs and bottles.

St. Matthew’s Church is situated in the Catholic Short Strand zone and borders the Protestant lower Newtownards Road. The Catholic church employee remarked that the loyalist rioters assaulted the police officers guarding the church zone.

The sectarian Belfast protest, over the Union flag row, led to one police officer being wounded on Monday. A bus driver was also injured when his vehicle was pelted by stones. The bus driver experienced facial gashes and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Reportedly, the loyalists had attacked the police officers and the houses alongside Strand Walk and St. Matthew’s Court.

A Translink spokesman has remarked that there were two endeavours to hijack buses, which led to the company suspending all of its metro bus services on Monday evening in eastern Belfast.

As per the police, the riots in Belfast on Monday led to the police being assaulted as they reacted to petrol bombs being flung from Pitt Park towards St. Matthew’s Church. The Belfast police have asserted that they employed water cannons to deal with the rioters due to the degree of the sectarian disorderliness. A 17-year-old boy had been detained by the police during the riots in Belfast.

Niall O Donnaighaile, the Belfast City councillor hailing from Sinn Fein, has remarked that the Belfast protest on Monday were a blatant, well planned and organised sectarian assault on the Catholic community by the loyalist Protestants. Niall O Donnaighaile had been in the Short Strand during the protests in Belfast, attempting to maintain calm in the zone.

Jim Wilson, a senior Belfast loyalist, has voiced to BBC that the loyalist youths were liable for the Monday violence as they attacked first the nationalist residences in the area.

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