Minor disturbance follows Ballyclare flag protest

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MINOR disturbances were reported at flag protests in the borough over the weekend.

During the driving wind and snow, loyalists protesting against a decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the number of days the Union flag flies at City Hall took to the streets in Glengormley and Ballyclare on Friday night (January 18).

In Glengormley, at the O’Neill Road roundabout, a protester was hit by a car, according to police.

A PSNI spokeswoman said no injuries were reported and the protester returned to the crowd following the incident.

The protest passed off peacefully and there were no further reports of disturbance.

Meanwhile, trouble broke out following a demonstration in The Square in Ballyclare, also on Friday night.

Local police officers said two protests blocked roads into the town for an hour between 7pm and 8pm and traffic had to be diverted.

As they broke up, a small group moved to block Main Street and police said there were reports of traffic being stopped and snowballs thrown at cars.

When police intervened, two arrests were made for disorderly behaviour, assaulting police and a drugs offence.

Two people, one a 17-year-old youth, appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court accused of disorderly behaviour on Saturday (January 19).

Thomas Charnley, 48, of Thornhill Drive, stands accused of a charge of disorderly behaviour, while the youth, who cannot be named because of his age, is accused of disorderly behaviour, assaulting and resisting police, obstructing a road and possessing cannabis.

The pair were released on bail and ordered to observe a curfew, report to police three times per week and to stay at least 500 metres away from any protest or demonstration.

Protests were also held on Monday evening (January 21) in The Square in Ballyclare and on the Church Road close to the Valley Leisure Centre.

Police said the protest in Ballyclare passed off without incident while on the Church Road, around 25 people were involved in a demonstration and police officers “ushered” loyalists off the road after they had blocked it.