Five people turn up for flag protest

Just five protesters took part in the 'white line' demonstration at Cloughfern Corner on Friday, February 22. INNT 09-009-FP
Just five protesters took part in the 'white line' demonstration at Cloughfern Corner on Friday, February 22. INNT 09-009-FP

JUST five people were observed taking part in a loyalist flag protest at Cloughfern Corner on Friday night (February 22).

The low turnout meant that those taking part were outnumbered by police officers.

Two of those taking part in the protest stood on the white lines in the middle of the O’Neill Road on the approach to the roundabout, while the others stayed on the traffic island, all while traffic flowed freely.

Over the past 12 weeks there has been a series of demonstrations in the area with people in the hundreds gathering around the busy junction.

Rioting has also broken out at the scene which saw police officers attacked with stones, bricks and petrol bombs.

Last week angry residents called for a stop to the incessant disruptions caused after three hoax devices were found in the area resulting in homes having to be evacuated.

In the earlier hours of last Thursday morning police closed the O’Neill Road for around four hours following the discovery of a suspicious device and the Glenville Road was also closed on Saturday night for a short period.

Meanwhile, the ‘Save our Flag Newtownabbey’ Facebook page which had been coordinating the protests has closed down.

Despite speculation about the reasons why the page was shut down, a local source has told the Times that a “cat fight” between two women caused the owner of the page to pull it down.

It is believed the heated argument was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” after numerous problems on the page which the moderator had hoped would be a “forum for weighty debate,” according to our source.