North Belfast MLA and Newtownabbey Councillor Paula Bradley has accused dissident republicans of deliberately increasing tensions by erecting republican flags in the middle of Glengormley.
The DUP representative said: “It was a clear and deliberate act of incitement for dissident republicans to erect republican flags along the Antrim Road this week, as far up as the junction with Carnmoney Road.
“These included flags associated with dissident republican paramilitaries. It is viewed as expressing support for acts of violence still being carried out by dissident republican terrorists.
“A white-line protest by unionists, objecting to the removal of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall, was held on Antrim Road on Friday evening as it has for many weeks.
“The actual protest passed off peacefully, however, as police moved the protestors off Antrim Road into Carnmoney Road, violence did occur including attacks against the police and against a business office and a car. This violence was totally wrong and was counter-productive to the message that the protest was held to make.
“Whilst this violence must be condemned, so also must the action of republicans in erecting flags which are not wanted by the local community and which was designed to provoke a reaction. Community and political representatives must re-double our efforts to ensure that this does not become an on-going situation. I call for calm heads and for no further actions which would increase tensions on the streets.”