29 Officers Hurt in Northern Ireland Clashes

Posted January 12th, 2013 at 8:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Twenty-nine police officers have been injured in the latest bout of rioting in Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast, over limits to the flying of the British flag.

Riot police used water cannon and fired six plastic bullet rounds at protesters who threw rocks and other objects at officers during the clashes in east Belfast Saturday. The injured police officers were hospitalized.

The current wave of violence in Northern Ireland started December 3, when the Belfast City Council voted to restrict the number of days the British flag is flown at City Hall. The Protestants have blocked the streets of the capital daily since the Catholics on the council decided to curtail the flying of the British flag to 18 per year.

The latest unrest began Saturday afternoon when some 1,000 demonstrators, mostly Protestants, gathered outside the City Hall in protest against the council's decision.

Northern Ireland's chief police constable, Matt Baggott, commended his officers for bringing the situation under control with what he described as “exceptional courage and professionalism.”

Northern Ireland's leaders are set to meet in the coming days to discuss the unrest.