Nationalists condemn flags and poppy wreaths at bonfires – The Irish Times IG News

IG News report,

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson was among political figures from all sides condemning the placing of opium wreaths, flags and images over a nationalist bonfire in Derry.

Mr Donaldson described the actions as an “outrageous and offensive display of hatred” that should be “universally dismissed”.

He tweeted: “When this generation is told there is no substitute for violence, it is the result. Time Michelle O’Neill took the lead and protested this hatred. There was always an option to kill people. ,

Bonfires are traditionally lit on 15 August in the nationalist areas of Derry and images of the Queen, a PSNI Land Rover as well as flags and wreaths are displayed at the bogside. Huge crowds gathered to watch the bonfires being lit on Monday night.

Sinn Féin legislator Gerry Kelly, the party’s police spokesman, said: “The bonfire scenes in Derry tonight are absolutely shameful and wrong.

“The burning of flags, wreaths and posters in which politicians and other political figures are involved is highly derogatory and a hate crime.

“There is no place for these displays of hatred anywhere in our society. It must stop now.”

SDLP leader Colm Eastwood said in a tweet: “This is completely out of order. Why do they need to imitate the worst elements of loyalist culture?”

SDLP councilor John Boyle said the demonstration at the bonfire in Meenon Square did not represent the local community.

“It is shameful to have these images and flags on a bonfire in Derry and I strongly condemn it,” he said.

“The people behind this bonfire don’t speak up for the people of Bogside who want to live in peace with their neighbors.”

It follows condemnation over the weekend of several events, including pro-ira chanting at the Wolfe Tone gig in West Belfast and chants of “Brits out” at the unveiling of a mural.

Meanwhile, Larne Football Club has suspended player John Heron for photographing him wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Up the Ra”.

On Saturday, a stall at the Loyalist Parade in Derry drew condemnation over the sale of Parachute Regiment flags and UVF flags.

Some families of those killed during Bloody Sunday in 1972, when the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civilians during a civil rights parade, said they felt personally humiliated.

The Apprentice Boys, who organized the parade, distanced themselves from the stall and described the incident as “regrettable”.

Mr Boyle said: “It is extremely disappointing that we are seeing this in our city just days after the sale of the UVF and Parachute Regiment flags.

“While I understand the hurt and pain that people have suffered, it doesn’t work to respond in kind.

“Those who wish to celebrate and celebrate elements of their culture and traditions should always aim to do so in a non-confrontational manner without offending or upsetting anyone else.

“The past few days have shown that as a society we still have work to do to move forward as one.”

The fire is associated with the August anniversary of the beginning of detention without trial during the Troubles, and also coincides with the Catholic Feast of the Assumption.

Republican and Loyalist bonfires remain a source of controversy in Northern Ireland.

The bonfire makers of both the communities have in the past incited anger by burning symbols associated with each other’s culture.

No great pyre was lit in Belfast last week to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the detention on 9 August 1971.

It follows efforts made over the years, including a large music concert as part of Feel en Fobel, to bring young people away from bonfires.

In July, police announced that they were investigating about 60 possible crimes that took place over loyalist bonfires to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

These reports include allegations of theft and destruction of political material, flags, hate slogans and effigies.

There was widespread condemnation after images emerged of Sinn Féin president and vice president Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill as well as Alliance Party leader Naomi Long hanging over a bonfire in Carrickfergus. – PA

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