independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Man faces Robinson threat charge

A man has been charged with threatening to kill First Minister Peter Robinson

A 34-year-old man has been charged with threatening to kill Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson.

The man is also charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network. It is understood the alleged threat was made by phone.

He is expected to appear at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Mr Robinson, the Democratic Unionist leader, is the latest political representative to be subject to a threat amid the ongoing unrest over the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall.

Loyalists have been protesting over the decision by Belfast City Council to reduce the number of days the flag flies.

East Belfast Alliance Party MP Naomi Long has received a death threat from loyalists while senior Democratic Unionists Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots have also been informed of threats, apparently from dissident republicans, after speaking out in favour of flying the flag.

There was widespread traffic disruption in Belfast on Wednesday night as loyalist protests continued. Demonstrators blocked a number of routes at rush hour to voice their anger. One man - a 24-year-old - was arrested for disorderly behaviour but there were no reports of serious trouble at the pickets.

But violence has flared at a number of demonstrations in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland during the last week-and-a-half. On Monday night a policewoman was subject to a murder bid by a masked loyalist gang which threw a petrol bomb into her patrol car.

Mr Robinson and the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Mike Nesbitt met with loyalist representatives to discuss the ongoing situation. The cross-community Alliance Party has borne the brunt of loyalist fury after it voted with Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Belfast City Council to limit the flying of the flag.

Since the flag controversy first flared, there have been 40 arrests and 29 police officers have been injured.

Press Association

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