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29 police officers injured in Northern Ireland clash


11:25, January 14, 2013

LONDON, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- At least 29 policemen were injured in fresh violence between Protestant loyalists and Catholic nationalists on the streets of Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, police said on Saturday.

The clash began when a group of Protestant youths passed Short Strand, a Catholic enclave in east Belfast, after they staged a rally outside the City Hall against the removal of the British flag.

Police used water cannons and fired six rounds of rubber bullets to try to separate the Protestant and Catholic youths hurling rocks, bottles and fireworks at each other.

Police Chief Constable Matt Baggott said 29 policemen were injured in the operation.

The new wave of violence follows several weeks of Protestant loyalist unrest sparked by the Dec. 3 decision by Belfast City Council to limit the number of days it flies the British flag.

A 1998 peace deal ended 30 years of conflict between Catholic Irish nationalist seeking union with Ireland and the pro-British Protestants.

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