FLAG PROTEST IN LIMAVADY

Loyalist flag protesters pictured at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady. (1112SL20)
Loyalist flag protesters pictured at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady. (1112SL20)
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Loyalist flag protesters demonstrated outside Limavady’s arts centre last night to show their anger against a decision in Belfast to limit the flying of the Union flag at City Hall.

Protesters are also expected at Limavady Council offices tonight where protest organiser, Joel Jackson said the Union flag should be flying everyday.

“We are very angry. It’s a disgrace,” said 22 year old Mr. Jackson from Ballykelly of the Belfast City Hall decision.

As more people, some draped in the Union flag started to arrive on scene, Mr. Jackson said he had spread the word on Facebook and pledged the demonstration would be peaceful. He also said other demonstrators from Derry and Coleraine were expected to join him.

“We are not doing any damage. This is the flag of our country, the flag I grew up under, the flag soldiers are fighting under,” he said.

One woman from Limavady said she was disgusted the Union flag wasn’t flying at Belfast City Hall or at Limavady Council offices.

“We are just standing up for our rights. We’re British and that’s our flag,” said the woman, adding:”What gets me about Sinn Fein is they sit in office and take the Queen’s money. The flag needs to go back up!”

PSNI Insp. Jenny Hudson said the police presence of between half a dozen to a dozen officers was to monitor the demonstration and said officers would be on the ground at tonight’s council meeting, due to start at 7pm.

Limavady Council chief executive Liam Flanigan said he wasn’t worried and would have normal security arrangements in place.

Mr. Flanigan said he would be liaising with the PSNI and keeping councillors informed.

Sinn Fein Councillor Sean McGlinchey said people have a right to protest, as long as it’s peaceful. He said businesses were finding it hard enough and hoped the protest would not damage business locally.