Police use water cannon to disperse rioting Loyalists on the Newtownards Road in Belfast on Monday.

Paul Faith, Associated Press

Cars burn as unrest grips Belfast in flag fight

  • Associated Press
  • January 7, 2013 - 4:47 PM

LONDON - Police clashed with brick-hurling rioters in Belfast on Monday as demonstrations over flying the British flag stretched into a fifth straight day.

Television footage from Northern Ireland's capital showed burning vehicles as protesters clashed with police along rain-soaked streets.

Protestant protesters have been out in force — with sometimes violent results — since a Dec. 3 decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the British flag year-round.

Such issues of symbolism routinely inflame sectarian passions in Northern Ireland, where Protestants mainly want to stay in the United Kingdom and Catholics want to unite with the Republic of Ireland.

More than 60 officers have been injured in the unrest. Some 100 people have been arrested.

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