Londonderry nationalist bonfire ‘disgraceful and wrong’, says Sinn Féin policing spokesperson Kelly

Credit: UTV
North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said such displays of hate must end. Credit: UTV

Sinn Féin's policing spokesperson has described the nationalist bonfire in Londonderry as ‘disgraceful and wrong’.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said such displays of hate must end.

He said: “The burning of flags, wreaths and posters which include politicians and other political figures is deeply offensive and is a hate crime.

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

“It’s in stark contrast to the many excellent community festivals that are taking place across the city; celebrating art, culture, the future and everything that is good about Derry and the people who live in it.”

It comes after the DUP leader condemned the placing of poppy wreaths, flags and images on the Derry bonfire.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson described the actions as an "outrageous and offensive display of hate", which should be "universally rejected".

He tweeted: "When this generation is told there was no alternative to violence, this is the result.

"Time Michelle O'Neill gave leadership & opposed this hatred.

"There was always an alternative to killing people."

The bonfire in Derry's Bogside area displayed images of the Queen, a PSNI Land Rover as well as flags and wreaths. It was due to be lit on Monday night.

Bonfires are traditionally lit in nationalist areas of Londonderry on August 15.

The fires are associated with the August anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial during the Troubles, and also coincide with the Catholic Feast of the Assumption.

Republican and loyalist bonfires continue to be a source of controversy in Northern Ireland.

Bonfire builders from both communities have provoked anger in the past by burning symbols associated with the other's culture.

No major pyres were lit in Belfast last week to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment on August 9 1971.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.