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A statue of a former New Zealand prime minister is at the centre of an angry stand-off in the Northern Irish County of Londonderry.

Sinn Fein councillors in the province want the removal of a statue of William Massey, the New Zealand prime minister from 1912 to 1925, which sits outside the Limavady Borough Council.

But the decision provoked angry scenes from 70 loyalist supporters who confronted two Sinn Fein councillors over the proposed move.

Police were called to the town hall after the group gathered outside Limavady Borough Council, shouting abuse at former Limavady mayor Ann Brolly and colleague Marian Donaghy.

Ms Brolly said the group spat at them and used obscene language. She said her car was kicked by one man when she got into it.

The removal of Massey's statue is part of a Sinn Fein push to remove all unionist flags and emblems to create a 'neutral environment'.

Sinn Fein want to remove the statue because they say Massey was a hardline Orange Order (protestant) member before emigrating to New Zealand.

A decision on the matter has been referred to the Limavady Borough Council's next committee meeting.