Bullets in post amid Union Flag protests

Bullets have been sent to five Northern Ireland politicians in an escalation of the loyalist street protests, it has emerged.

Sinn Fein and cross-community Alliance Party representatives were targeted in packages posted to Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly at Stormont.

A string of attacks against politicians has followed the decision to reduce the number of days on which the Union Flag is flown from Belfast’s City Hall.

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The change sparked sporadic loyalist violence and road blocks, which have continued for most of this month and blighted Belfast city centre trading in the run-up to Christmas.

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast, said: “This is obviously a step up in the attempt to intimidate elected representatives.”