North Ireland violence follows talks

AFP-JIJI

Violence flared for the fourth night running in Northern Ireland on Sunday, hours after politicians and church leaders held talks in a bid to quell a row over the flying of the British flag.

After three nights of rioting and attacks on police, Northern Ireland’s chief police officer, Matt Baggott, said 52 officers had been injured, but he warned his force would deal firmly with the violence for as long as it was necessary.

“The discussions aimed at ending the violence took place at a Belfast church, but Robin Newton, of the Democratic Unionist Party, said a lack of engagement from protest organizers was making it difficult to see an end to the unrest.

“We have to find a way out of this, but how we do it I don’t know,” he admitted.

The rioting Saturday followed a largely peaceful protest by more than 1,000 people outside Belfast City Hall against the City Council’s decision last month to limit the days it flies the British flag, or Union flag, each year.