Flag protests ‘not getting anybody anywhere’ - SF
Unionist leaders in Limavady are being challenged to join the call for an end to flag protests, which a Sinn Fein councillor claims have little support and are “ineffective”.
Colr. Sean McGlinchey says support for flag protests locally is weak as evidenced, he says, by the low turnout on Tuesday for what was the fifth flag protest in Limavady since the decision at Belfast City Hall to limit the flying of the Union flag to designated days.
At one point, approximately two dozen people held a peaceful, white line picket outside Council offices but three hours later, and in the bitter cold, protesters were outnumbered by the significant police presence.
“People are entitled to protest, but Tuesday night showed there is little support for these protests,” said the Sinn Fein man. “The protesters were outnumbered by the police who were there, for what, 20 or so people over a three-hour period. It’s a sad state of affairs, especially when there are enough pressures on the PSNI.”
Colr. McGlinchey said unionist leaders in Limavady need to unite and join the call for protests to end.
“Peter Robinson said himself the protests need to end so, it’s about time unionists in Limavady did the same,” he commented, adding: “The protests aren’t getting anybody anywhere. They’re ineffective and, I think, the ordinary unionist can see that too.”
Previous protests in Limavady, in which two people were arrested, have seen as many as 100 people gather outside Limavady Council offices.
Tuesday night, however, saw much lower numbers.
From 7pm, protesters gradually filtered into the area as local councillors met for the first time since Christmas.
After previous Limavady council meetings, when flag protests were held, Sinn Fein councillors were escorted by police to their vehicles. However, on Tuesday, they left the Council meeting using the front entrance and making their way to their cars parked at the front, without incident.
Within minutes of Sinn Fein’s departure, protesters left the area.
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