Christmas in Belfast 2012 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Roads were blocked, businesses destroyed, lives ruined and  family life disrupted due to the 'peaceful protests' resulting from the democratic decision to fly the Union Flag on Belfast City Hall on designated days only; a policy in keeping with UK government recommendations and followed by all other major cities in the UK.

The wording of the proposal was:

Flying of the Union Flag at the Belfast City Hall
That the decision of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee of 23rdNovember under the heading “Flying of the Union Flag at the Belfast City Hall” be amended to provide that this Council should adopt the practice of flying the Union Flag on designated days, as applied at Parliament Buildings. This reflects the agreed sovereignty of Northern Ireland confirmed in the Good Friday Agreement and accepted by all its signatories.  By doing it regularly and with dignity, we recognise that we live in a society and City made up of people who are British, Irish and both.  The designated days’ solution does justice to these principles; the agreement by all on British sovereignty; the fact of a shared society; and the need for respect and avoiding all triumphalism and the arrangements currently operating at Stormont.It also reflects the preferred determination of the Equality Commission.
(emphasis: LAD)

The vote was democratically carried by a majority of 29 to 21.

It would appear that some cunts can't read.

Meet Ian McCrory

McCrory is a leader of a shadowy group called Ulster Protestant Voice (UPV) who called loyalists unto the streets to protest last December. A family member Sam is the chairman of the Protestant Coalition.

This week he put online his justification for protests:

"Why loyalists decided to protest

In December 3rd 2012 a vote was taken at a council meeting in a capital city this vote was in reference to the flag policy which has stood unbroken for over 100 years.

The policy was challenged four years previous by Sinn Fein but failed because they wouldn't accept an alliance proposal to support designated days, Sinn Fein and republicanism wanted the flag removed permanently. 

Fast forward four years and the matter was again raised, republican councillors cited equality and shared space as reasons for its proposed removal despite the fact the equality commission only found 7 registered complaints in the previous 10 years in regards to city halls symbols which included the union flag. This time around Sinn Fein backed by the SDLP once again tried to have the union flag removed permanently but quickly realised that without the support of the alliance party their proposal was again doomed to fail.

So nationalist councillors took the decision to accept the amendment by the party with the swinging vote (Alliance) which opted for designated flag days. This proposal was brought before the equality commission who decided to ignore the signed petitions of over 40,000 Belfast citizens and it was decided the matter would be put before council for voting. 

December 3rd 2012 seen thousands of Protestants gather at Belfast's city hall in protest at the impending vote to remove the union flag from the capital city of Northern Ireland Belfast's city hall. As thousands gathered speeches were read and messages relayed from inside the council chamber as to what was going on. The mood was defiant yet completely peaceful even after the vote had been taken, up until a Sinn Fein councillor uttered the words "This must be seen as a victory for republicanism and it's just another step in our ultimate aims of removing all symbols relating to Britishness from this chamber and this city".

(This is total and utter bollocks: here is the video from the entire Council meeting. We have watched the entire meeting and at no point is the line "This must be seen as a victory for republicanism and it's just another step in our ultimate aims of removing all symbols relating to Britishness from this chamber and this city" used.)

"After that the protest quickly turned violent and sparked street protests that spanned the length of our country and further afield. 

Since 1906 the union flag has flown from Belfast city hall, through all the bombing shooting and trauma of the troubles, that little symbol of Britishness reminded people that despite the bloodshed the pain the horrors of war, our nationality remained unbroken and untouched by terrorists fingers. The protests soon made world news with media outlets focussing on the trouble that accompanied a small number of street protests, none mentioned that these scenes of trouble flared at interfaces with nationalist who celebrated, goaded and taunted people that they "had won" 

None focused on the overzealous way the security forces treated the peaceful protests often disregarding their own rules to conduct a "political operation at all costs" Men Women and kids beaten, photographed and later arrested for attending protests that had never seen any public disorder. People kept on remand in jail for crimes including "waving a flag provocatively" and "obstructively sitting". It is the view held by many that the police service acted with a blank canvass to do what they could to quell the protests. 

Violence cannot be justified nor condoned but the right of peaceful protest and lawful assembly is the basic fabric of a democratic society, yet in Northern Ireland 2012/13 this right was denied. With the threat of injury or arrest numbers dropped protests ceased to be a countrywide occurrence yet pockets remain defiant. The protests transformed from road blocks to white line to cultural marches in an attempt to counteract the robust way the police treated the protests. 

Despite the fact protests, be they white line or cultural marches, were totally peaceful the police remained determined to demonise, demoralise and criminalise anyone who partook in open objection to the removal of the national flag. Working alongside the police operation to dispel the protests were the mainstream media who printed story after story detailing the few violent events on a near daily occurrence they printed or published images of innocent protesters wanted by police, the term "flegger" soon emerged to humiliate protesters. They run stories of business's who lost trade who had to close or lay off staff as a result of protests, city center traders soon called for rate relief from council because get were adversely affected. Despite the fact only one instance of public order was recorded in or around the city center connected to protests (the night of December 3rd). Business's who were situated far from any protest point were calling for council rate relief again blaming protesters and again media used this as a means to demonise protesters. 

Despite all of this the protest has continued albeit on a smaller scale every week at Belfast city hall, politicians, police and media outlets all claim we are wasting our time and that protests will not get our flag back up, The protesters know this they know that the only way to overturn that decision is by a re-vote by council and for that, unionists need to regain the majority in Belfast city council. That is why these protests have remained a weekly occurrence for now on approaching a year. The protesters have engaged in a campaign to raise awareness around the voting apathy within our communities we've actively sought to convince unionists to register to vote and to use that vote This has proved somewhat successful given the fact that the electoral commission released figures showing a rise in registration returns from the unionist community against the fall in nationalists communities.

The protest at city hall remain's as a reminder to people what can happen when you waste your vote. And through actively encouraging people to vote we believe we can achieve a satisfactory end to the protests which will see the flag be reinstated to our capital city hall. In December 2012 republicans proposed removal as part of their political objective, the alliance party amended it as part of their objective to create a better more inclusive society, in short both have brought about the total opposite. Community Relations in Belfast in 2013 are at depleted levels not seen since the peace process began. Cross community activities have suffered. Sectarian attacks have increased. Interface peace walls are being added to. The process be it republicans political aims or the alliance party's equality aims have failed and failed miserably for all the citizens of Belfast".

Tonight we asked a member of the PUP why they are supporting the protest.

So since the PUP don't know what they are supporting, lets see what one of the organisers has to say:

Perhaps we should refer back to a comment McCrory himself posted on Facebook back in February for the real reason for the protest:

This year Ian and his cohorts in Loyalist Peaceful Protesters (LPP) are at it again

Ian - fuck away off. 

Belfast doesn't want your protests.