Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that most of the protests occurring in Belfast regarding the recent change in legislation about the flying of the Union Jack are illegal.
TheJournal.ie reports that Adams shared his sentiments in a blog post over the weekend. In it, he asserted that some criminal enterprises are ‘hijacking’ the protests for their own advancement, and called for an all party response to help halt the violence of recent days.
Read More: Loyalist flag riots leave 29 police injured in Belfast as violence escalates
“There is an expectation across the community that those who are organising these protests will be subjected to due process and that the protests will be policed in a fair way,” Adams wrote in his ‘Leargas’ blog on the Belfast Media group website.
The violence in Belfast has been escalating ever since new legislation was put into place in December that limited the flying of the British Union Jack flag over Belfast City Hall from year round to just 17 days a year.
The protests are costing the Northern Irish government millions of Euro, nevermind the injuries that civilians and police officers alike are sustaining.
Read More: Fascist groups now seen as behind Northern Ireland flag clashes
“The vast majority of the protests taking place around the flag issue are illegal. Most are being organised by the BNP, the UVF and criminal elements, some of whom are well known drug pushers. They are seeking to exploit this situation for their own ends.”
Adams went on to call for party unison to stop the violence. “This will be a huge challenge,” wrote Adams. “Republicans do not underestimate the problems involved and in particular the difficulties facing unionism. but there can be no going back. The tiny minorities who want to cling to the past must be rejected.”