The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have issued a statement following clashes between loyalist and republican protesters over the flying over the Union flag. A PSNI spokesperson said:
Over the previous number of days police had undertaken significant engagement with representatives from all communities, in anticipation of a movement of protestors into and out of the city centre from east Belfast.
Police came under further heavy, sustained attack and, given the level of violence being directed at police, six AEPs (baton rounds) were discharged and water cannon were deployed.
Twenty nine police officers were injured with four officers requiring hospital treatment. Two officers have been discharged and two remain in hospital.
Twenty-nine police officers were injured during sectarian riots between republicans and loyalists in east Belfast today.
The union flag will be raised at dawn over Belfast City Hall for the first time since the dispute began last month.
Police were attacked for a third night, with frontline officers reportedly coming under gunfire as new loyalist trouble erupted in Belfast.