PLANS for a republican protest against the Armed Forces Day flag being flown at Belfast city hall have been described as "bigoted" by unionist representatives.
DUP MLA Robin Newton has condemned the planned protest by dissident group eirigi which is due to coincide with the raising of the flag at noon tomorrow.
The Stormont junior minister said: "To protest against the flying of the Armed Forces Day flag is a bigoted act."
Mr Newton described Armed Forces Day as an important event which "allows us to support our servicemen and women" and to "show our gratitude" for their courage and commitment.
"It is the sacrifice and loyalty of the men and women of the armed forces down through the generations that allows eirigi to enjoy their freedoms. What a shame it is that they choose to use them in such an offensive and insulting way."
In a statement posted on the eirigi website, the group's general secretary Brendan McKenna called for republicans to support the protest and said: ""As was the case last year, eirigi will be actively opposing the celebration of British Armed Forces Day in occupied Ireland."
Councillor Michael Copeland also slammed the planned protest, describing it as "a slap in the face to those in the city of Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland who have defended democracy in the past or present."