Well the Protesters are getting a bit of bad press regarding disrupting traffic, workers and shoppers. It's been done many, many times before in the history of Belfast / Northern Ireland.
It was more than likely foreseen that taking the flag down would cause problems in the way of protests and riots. So surely it could have been left until after christmas if the powers that be didn't want to have christmas all disrupted. More than likely it was chosen to be done now to make the protestants look as bad as possible.
What are the opinions of the Great British Public on the Main Land???