UK & World News
Belfast Protests: 29 Police Officers Injured
Twenty-nine police officers have been injured during disorder in east Belfast.
Police used water cannon during sectarian clashes overnight between loyalists and republicans in the Castlereagh Street area.
Trouble flared after a city centre demonstration against the council's decision to limit the number of days the Union flag is flown from City Hall.
Four of the 29 injured officers were taken to hospital and two remain in treatment.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Matt Baggott said: "This was a difficult operation dealing with a large number of people determined to cause disorder and violence. My colleagues brought the situation under control with exceptional courage and professionalism.
"I know the vast majority of people will be grateful for their efforts. Police will continue to engage with all those committed to finding a solution to these issues."
Water cannon were deployed and a non-lethal baton round fired by riot police as they separated opposing factions.
A hail of bricks and fireworks rained down at the Albertbridge Road near the nationalist Short Strand.
Earlier on Saturday, nearly 1,000 people gathered at City Hall to protest.
Senior politicians from Belfast, Dublin and London are to meet next week to discuss the protests after more than 40 days of road blocks and sporadic violence by loyalists have failed to produce a solution.
Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness will join Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and Ireland's Tanaiste (deputy leader) Eamonn Gilmore.
Mr Gilmore said: "This violence is being orchestrated and those behind it are known criminals, intent on creating chaos.
"This has nothing to do with real issues around flags and identity in a shared society, which are the subject of intensive political discussions at present."
The demonstrations against Belfast City Council's decision to hoist the Union flag only on designated days like royal birthdays have brought many parts of Northern Ireland to a standstill.
More than 70 officers have been injured and over 100 arrests made during weeks of sporadic trouble, the PSNI said.
Businesses in Belfast's city centre have struggled to cope, with many reporting lost trade, and the Confederation of British Industry warned some investors may think again.
A doctor was prevented from attending a terminally ill cancer patient because of loyalist road blocks in south Belfast, it was revealed.
The GP was travelling to a home call with the sick man when he was stopped twice by crowds of demonstrators who blocked the road.
Police asked them to move but they refused, nationalist SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt said.
He said: "These are depraved acts which immediately dismiss any claim on a protest being peaceful."
The doctor had to wait until the blockade was lifted.
A unionist forum chaired by DUP leader Mr Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt met last week to discuss ways of empowering loyalist working class communities.
A second peace rally is to be held outside City Hall later today.
what do you think?
free Ireland from British occupation.
Do be quiet. Or support your convictions and go over there.
and like clock work the brain dead come crawling outta the word work!
The whole reality is most of us wdnt have noticed if it was even flyin on the city hall so in reality we wdnta known if in the middle of the nite it just suddenly wadnt there nymore like iv z b4 get a job get a life there worse things goin on in the world atm x
Isnt this moreso to do with austerity? Gotta trust your beloved lamestream media. They always tell the whole story.
No. It has nothing to do with austerity.
politicians playing power politics, here we go again !
They are cutting police back? I'm pritty sure if I was the government I'd be recruiting police and helping them more because it would stop outbursts like this getting out of hand. The government need to recruit more police ALL over the nation! I was a wittness at a car crash this morning and it took 20 mins for the police to come because there was not enough staff on duty... Due to government cuts.
Can you not fly both flags
Immigrants starting trouble. This is protestant type of sharia law in other people's land. Immigration in England is karma.
It would simplify matters if Ireland was united.