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Press photographer badly hurt while covering riot

A freelance press photographer has been left badly injured while covering riots in Belfast.

Peter Morrison, a freelance whose clients include the Associated Press, was injured as riots took place outside the City Hall on Monday following a decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag.

Peter, pictured left, is understood to have suffered a range of injuries, including fractured fingers, a split head and bruises in the incident, which took place as mobs of loyallists laid siege to the building in protest at the move.

It is thought his injuries were caused by being struck by a police baton when officers tried to clear protesters away from the building as councillors and city hall officials sheltered inside.

Paul Connolly, the Society of Editors board member for Ireland and group managing editor at the Belfast Telegraph, called for the police to hold a full investigation into the incident.

He said: “We need a full investigation what happened and how Peter sustained these injuries. Any such probe should be comprehensive and transparent and the results should be published.”

In June 2011, a photographer was shot by loyalists during rioting in East Belfast.

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “Police have informed the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland of an incident where a photographer who was attending the protest at the back of City Hall on Monday 3 December, alleged that he was struck by a police baton.”

She said the police could not comment further because of the possible investigation by the Police Ombudsman.