Love Ulster loyalist plans Dublin protest
A PROTEST group led by an Ulster loyalist activist who was involved in the controversial Love Ulster parade in 2006 is set to march in Dublin next Saturday and ask for the Tricolour to be lowered.
Willie Frazer has said he is organising the demonstration as a result of the controversy over the decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the Union flag over City Hall.
Mr Frazer, who is based in Markethill, Co Armagh, was involved in organising the Orange Order parade in Dublin on February 26, 2006, which was abandoned after hundreds of protesters rioted.
He intends to take part in a short protest at Leinster House at midday next Saturday, and said he has informed gardai of his plans and that the protest will be peaceful.
Mr Frazer said the group will 'sarcastically' ask for the Tricolour to be lowered. "When we ask for the Tricolour to be taken down, it will be a tongue-in-cheek gesture to give Irish people a sense of how we feel," Mr Frazer said.
"I would be very offended if I was living in Ireland and someone came and asked me to take the flag down. But that's exactly how we feel in Belfast."
Three busloads of protesters are expected for an hour-long protest outside Leinster House.
In 2006 a planned Love Ulster march ended in riots on Dublin streets. Some 300 protestors -- unconnected to the Love Ulster group -- clashed with gardai in Dublin city centre yards from where 800 marchers commemorating the victims of republican violence had gathered.
The Love Ulster parade never got under way as protestors along the route broke the barriers and began attacking gardai, photographers and journalists.
Missiles including cement blocks, rocks, pipes, glass bottles and firecrackers were thrown, and a refuse skip outside the GPO was also set on fire.
Further clashes broke out at O'Connell Bridge, Aston Quay, Fleet Street and Temple Bar.
The most serious violence was in the Nassau Street area, where three cars were burnt out, windscreens were smashed and businesses had windows broken.
Fourteen people, including six gardai, were treated in hospital as a result of the disturbances.
Meanwhile, SDLP spokesperson on policing and MLA Conall McDevitt has called for police in Northern Ireland to be firmer in their dealings with illegal protests.
Ten police officers were injured when they were attacked by a mob of loyalist protesters in Belfast on Thursday night.
Two people have been charged with rioting after the violence in east Belfast.