Fears of further violence by loyalists
LOYALISTS have been urged to cancel further planned street demonstrations over a decision by councillors in Belfast to restrict the flying of the Union flag over City Hall.
Amid fears of further violence following attacks on offices of the non-sectarian Alliance Party, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has called on protesters to suspend their action.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to visit Northern Ireland today and is expected to endorse appeals for calm.
There are threats to hold another mass demons-tration in Belfast city centre on Saturday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, police have said.
In Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, more than 1,000 rioters burned down the office of Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson and four police officers were injured as non-lethal rounds were fired to dispel protesters.
In the seaside town of Bangor, Co Down, arsonists last night attempted to set light to the office of Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry but were thwarted by a passing police patrol.
In the same town, a window was smashed at the home of two Alliance councillors with a 17-month old baby.
Councillor Christine Bower said: "It was extremely upsetting. I could not stop shaking, I just was beside myself."