Protest camp attack 'hate crime'

TWO men and a woman were charged last night after flags and banner were damaged at a loyalist protest camp. The men aged 21 and 22 were charged with provocative conduct and criminal damage.

The 20-year-old woman was charged with theft, provocative conduct and criminal damage.

All three are to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.

Police earlier described damage caused to flags and banner at Twaddell Avenue loyalist protest camp, pictured, as a "hate crime".

Reports of the damage were received shortly after 7.30am on yesterday. The three were arrested shortly afterwards.

Loyalists have been protesting at Twaddell Avenue interface since July, after a decision by the Parades Commission to restrict an Orange Order parade along a contested section of the Crumlin Road.

In January an officer was sliced across the face with a Stanley knife after being called out to the camp amid reports a teenager armed with a blade was ripping down flags and banners.

A 16-year-old male was arrested and later charged with wounding with intent and possession of an offensive weapon.

? Editorial ? P16


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