East Belfast unrest continues as shots fire at police

BY: Sebastian Syme

Eight people are in police custody following Saturday's rioting in east Belfast.

Police said they fired plastic bullets three times during the violence.

Water cannon was also used as officers came under attack from over 100 people, throwing petrol bombs, stones and fireworks. One officer was injured.

It was the third consecutive night of riots in the area, linked to protests over the decision not to fly the union flag above Belfast City Hall all year.

Church and political leaders are due to meet in east Belfast on Sunday afternoon to try to bring an end to the violence.

Earlier on Saturday, a 38-year-old man was held on suspicion of attempted murder after shots were reportedly fired at police.

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During the day a protest took place in the city centre over Belfast council's decision to only fly the union flag on designated days.

Up to 1,000 loyalists demonstrated outside Belfast City Hall.

Police said they later dealt with public disorder in a number of locations including Templemore Avenue and the Albertbridge Road.

Bricks, bottles, fireworks and smoke canisters were thrown by the rioters on the Lower Newtownards Road.