The democratically elected local government council of Belfast City has voted to remove the British flag from the masthead on the roof of Belfast City Hall in a city shared by Irish Nationalist and British Unionist communities. And the reaction of Unionists?
A thousand-strong demonstration outside Belfast City Hall punctuated by screams of “No Surrender”, the burning of the Irish flag, an attempted storming of the civic building, injured civilian security guards and PSNI paramilitary police officers, a beaten press photographer, smashed cars, rioting in central and east Belfast, and attacks on St. Matthews, a Roman Catholic Church in a besieged Nationalist enclave in the east of the city.
This is what the British Unionist minority in Ireland call’s “democracy”.
The same in 2012 as it was in 1912.
UPDATE 1.00am 04/12/12: The DUP’s Tom Haire, a Belfast City councillor and member of the Protestant fundamentalist Orange Order, has issued a tweet about last night’s vote that some have interpreted as a crude attempt to draw a reaction from Resistance Republicans to the agreement by Sinn Féin and the SDLP to the compromise motion passed by Belfast City Council.
UPDATE 2.00am 04/12/2012: Video of the rioting by members of the British Unionist minority outside Belfast City Hall in protest at the city council’s equality vote over national flags at the city hall.