Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson: Belfast loyalist protest 'must be dignified'

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Media captionPeter Robinson said organisers should ensure their demonstration is peaceful and dignified

First Minister Peter Robinson has called on the organisers of Saturday's loyalist parade to make clear they want a peaceful and dignified demonstration.

Loyalists are planning to mark the first anniversary of the flags protest with a demonstration at the City Hall.

Mr Robinson said he would like to hear a clear message from those behind the parade, either directly, in a statement or through intermediaries.

The secretary of state said those behind the protest should think again.

Theresa Villiers said everyone involved should not only ensure it is peaceful but entirely lawful.

However, she added the event would be "disruptive."

The Parades Commission has given the go-ahead to Saturday's demonstration but has placed restrictions on it.

Mr Robinson said he believed a good demonstration was possible but it must minimise disruption to business in the city centre.

He said that if people did not follow the parades commission determination on Saturday there would be disruption in Belfast city centre and economic disruption will follow that.

Protests began on 3 December 2012 after Belfast City Council voted to fly the union flag at city hall only on designated days.

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