Loyalists support end to N. Ireland riots

Jan. 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Loyalist leaders called for an end to sectarian violence in Northern Ireland in a statement following talks among government leaders on the Union Flag crisis.

Violence has erupted across Northern Ireland since city officials in Belfast voted to limit the number of days the British flag is flown at City Hall. An outlawed loyalist group, the Ulster Volunteer Force, has been accused of orchestrating the disorder, in which more than 100 police officers have been injured and 116 arrests have been made, the Belfast Telegraph reported Friday.

Leaflets appealing for an end to the rioting have been endorsed by 41 organizations, including Irish paramilitary groups, church leaders and community groups, the newspaper said.

Protests have taken place in parts of Northern Ireland nearly daily since Dec. 3.

Earlier, ministers held talks with the Northern Ireland secretary of state and the Irish foreign minister.

"The violence is intolerable and these protests have to come off the streets. They have to be replaced by dialogue," Secretary of State Theresa Villers said in East Belfast Monday.

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