Northern Irish police injured as flag row turns violent

January 4, 2013 03:59

BELFAST - Eight police officers were injured in Northern Ireland on Thursday when protests at the removal of the British flag from Belfast City Hall turned violent for the first time in more than two weeks.

Pro-British loyalists began rioting and fighting street battles with police after a decision a month ago by mostly nationalist pro-Irish councilors to end the century-old tradition of flying the British flag from City Hall every day in the British-controlled province.

More than 40 police officers were injured in the initial wave of violence, which stopped over Christmas. Protesters took to the streets in recent days but had remained peaceful until Thursday, when the community divisions were exposed once more.

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