Sinn Fein councillors given police escort after Limavady flag protest

A statue of Limavady native and New Zealand'Prime Minister, William F. Massey, covered in Union flags at last night's protest
A statue of Limavady native and New Zealand'Prime Minister, William F. Massey, covered in Union flags at last night's protest

A second loyalist flag protest in Limavady turned ugly on Tuesday night with one man arrested after he drove the wrong way down a one-way street.

The protest of at least 100 protesters outside Limavady Council offices on a bitterly cold evening was, for the most part, peaceful. Prior to the start of the Council meeting, Union flags were erected onto street poles outside and opposite the Connell Street Council offices.

However, towards the end of the Council meeting the atmosphere turned hostile.

As protesters neared the front of the Council building, where inside it was business as usual for the weekly council meeting, the situation turned tense at times. A single egg was catapulted at police who were on scene at the front the of the council offices on Connell Street. The crowd, made up of people of all ages - including at least one toddler who could be heard crying at times - cheered after chants of ‘No S urrender’. There was also a brief stand-off between one protester - who stood on top of the raised flower plant bed in front of the council office - and the police.

At one point the bronze sculpture of William Masey, Limavady native and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was draped in Union flags and a red, white and blue hat.

As the unionist councillors filed out of the meeting, which ran smoothly and ended by 9pm, SDLP and Sinn Fein councillors left by the back entrance. Sinn Fein councillors received a police escort as they left the building and were driven down Connell Street, normally a one way street, in the opposite direction.

As news of their departure spread to protesters, tensions rose. One protester could be be seen getting into his car, with a Union flag draped onto the boot, and driving down Connell Street - against the flow of traffic -with PSNI officers in pursuit.

The ‘Journal’ understands a man was subsequently arrested.

What followed was a brief disruption to traffic and stand off with the police.

Shortly after, the crowd dispersed.

A flag protest was also held last night in Derry’s Waterside.