Sunday 28 December 2014

Campaigners stage 'Peace Gathering'

Published 15/12/2012 | 11:19

Up to 1,000 people take part in the cross community Peace Gathering in Belfast city centre
A protest over the restrictions of flying the Union flag outside Belfast City Hall
Loyalists have staged protests after councillors in Belfast voted to reduce the number of days the Union flag is flown over the city hall

Peace campaigners in Belfast have staged a second rally in as many days to demonstrate their opposition to the recent unrest.

Up to 1,000 people took part in the cross community 'Peace Gathering' in the city centre.

The hour-long event at the gates of the city hall concluded with a two-minute 'no silence' where participants whistled, shouted, clapped their hands and played musical instruments.

Organiser Paul Currie, an artist from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, said: "The peaceful silent majority need to be heard too."

Violence has erupted across Northern Ireland after Belfast City councillors voted to limit the number of days the Union flag is flown.

Loyalists are opposed to any restrictions and have blocked roads and rioted over the issue.

The 'Peace Gathering' was promoted through social networking sites and had obtained permission from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It finished by 12 noon so that shopping in the city centre would not be disrupted.

Mr Currie said: "This was a call for legal gathering of the people of Northern Ireland to show our neighbours and the world once and for all that we are not about two communities at war, but that Northern Ireland has moved on.

"Northern Ireland is about many nationalities and religions, colours and creeds living peacefully together. This is not about a flag it is about peace and freedom."

Participants of all ages waved banners and played drums but were told not to bring any flags.

Press Association

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