17 September 2005

Protesters block city road again


Loyalist protests have disrupted rush-hour traffic

A crowd of mainly women and children blocked Donegall Road in south Belfast for a time, in the sixth consecutive day of loyalist protests in the city.

They gathered near Shaftesbury Square at about 1530 BST, moved towards the Boyne Bridge for a time then returned.

The protest has now ended and the road has re-opened.

Rush-hour traffic has been disrupted since Monday by loyalists angry at the police's response to disturbances which followed a re-routed Orange march.

On Friday, UUP leader Sir Reg Empey called for an end to the demonstrations, saying that they were causing loyalist areas to suffer.

"The government's attention is now being focused on concerns that people have in many of these loyalist areas," he said.

"There will be no progress made while these disturbances continue."

However, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said there had been "a total failure in unionist leadership".

"Like others, I have to ask why it has taken him (Sir Reg) a week to scramble to that sort of line of sense," he said.

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