Before the New Year even kicked off the protestors were back out in on the streets. But even on those Facebook pages that claim to be about promoting peaceful protest I've spotting the following exchange. I'm writing what was written (with one additional redaction) so apologies for spelling and grammar.
Admin: The alliance is open in east Belfast iv just walked by there. There sneaky c**** so a protest in the morning is called for
Response: f***** [sic] right smash the place up
Admin: You got that one ryt [Responder]This appears on a Facebook page called Loyalists peaceful protests updater. There are often calls on these threads to keep protests peaceful, but today this admin has overstepped that mark. It looks like Northern Ireland will not be seeing a peaceful New Year, at least not for some foreseeable future.
Over the holidays I was doing a little more family research. I've found yet another of my Donegal relatives was in the Royal Irish Constabulary at the time of partition who fled for his life. He joins one of my Great Grandfathers in those who very nearly died in defending order in our land. There are also numerous members of the armed forces in my family (not all conscripts) so the defense of our independence is something that I know my family has very much been involved in.
That is something I still seek to defend, but part of that order is defending democracy and the right of the people to go about the job they have been elected to peacefully and those that wish to consult with them to do so without intimidation. However, it looks like 2013 will carry on with the intimidation of people who are part of a party that came to a democratic decision to try and ensure order.
Elsewhere there have been bombs and attempted shootings of PSNI Officers, fingers have been pointed at dissident republicans. But we must not forget that in December there was also an attempted murder of an Officer outside the offices of East Belfast MP Naomi Long so both sides are making life hard for our police here.
While you may disagree with someone intimidation and causing those people and others to leave work early merely to ensure safety, because your protests cannot guarantee that, is not something we'd expect to be happening against a democratic decision.