In Belfast clash, three police officers injured

Monday night's violence in Protestant east Belfast broke out soon after a meeting of the Belfast City Council.

Paul Faith/AP
Loyalists set up burning barricades on the Newtownards Road in Belfast, Monday, a month after the City Council decided to fly the union flag on designated days only. Protesters have been out in force — with sometimes violent results — since a Dec. 3 decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the British flag year-round.

Northern Ireland police say three officers have been injured in a fifth straight night of street clashes with Protestant extremists opposed to Belfast City Council's decision to reduce its flying of the British flag.

Monday night's violence in Protestant east Belfast broke out soon after the monthly meeting of the Belfastcouncil. Police said they arrested eight suspected rioters.

Inside the council chamber, Catholic politicians who narrowly outnumber Protestants on the council defended their Dec. 3 decision to fly the Union Jack atop city hall only on 18 specific days, not year-round. Scores of Protestant street blockades have followed.

On Monday night about 300 Protestants, many of them draped in British flags, stood peacefully outside city hall. The street clashes started after most walked back into east Belfast.

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