The recent flag protests by Loyalists in Belfast have underlined the continuing sectarian nature of the Northern Irish state. Goretti Horgan looks at the history of Loyalism and asks how socialists should relate to the Irish protestant working class
The sight of hundreds of protesters carrying Union Jack flags tends to be associated in England, Scotland or Wales with marches by the BNP or the English Defence League. In Northern Ireland it is now impossible to drive through any city, town or hamlet without finding part or all of it bedecked with massive Union flags.
Over the last two months Belfast and all of the North have seen practically daily protests about the Union flag, some ending in riots all featuring vicious sectarianism on the streets.