· Plea of the Anglican Bishop of Down and Dromore ·
A call to prayer for all Christians: this is the request from the Anglican Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller, in regard to the violence which has transpired lately at Belfast, following the recent clashes between unionists and loyalists. In a testimony on the Anglican Communion's website, the bishop speaks of “tragic and difficult ones in Northern Ireland, and especially in East Belfast”, a city which is located in the territory of the Anglican diocese of Down and Dromore.
The disorder began after a decision, on 3 December, when the Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union Flag at City Hall only on designated days. On 6 January the loyalists returning from a protest in front of the City Hall were attacked by the nationalists. The police intervened to break up the mob, but the loyalists erected barricades and refused to leave the area around Lower Newtownards Road, in East Belfast, causing law enforcement to react and fire rubber bullets.
The Bishop of Down and Dromore recalls the tension which has been built up from the past in order to show the necessity of promoting a spirit of reconciliation across all divides. “Those who have experienced the divisions and violence of the past in Northern Ireland are deeply concerned about the potential trajectory which is in place at the moment”.
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