Police probe possible shots fired at Londonderry bonfire

Police are investigating a series of loud bangs which were heard at a nationalist bonfire in Londonderry.

Inquiries are under way to establish whether shots were fired during the incident in the Bogside area of Derry at around 11.20pm on Monday.

Superintendent Willy Calderwood said: "Police in Derry/Londonderry are investigating the report of an incident in the Bogside last night.

"Shortly before 11.20pm, there was a report of a number of loud bangs being heard in the area.

"At around the same time, police received a third-party report about possible shots being heard in the area.

"Inquiries continue to establish exactly what occurred and to confirm if any shots were fired."

Anyone with information, or who may have captured footage which may assist inquiries, is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference number 2217 of 15/08/22.

There was condemnation from across the political spectrum after the placing of poppy wreaths, flags and images on the bonfire.

Images of the Queen and a PSNI Land Rover were also displayed.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey 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."

The SDLP's Colum Eastwood SDLP leader Colum Eastwood in a tweet said: "This is totally out of order. Why do they need to mimic the worst elements of loyalist culture?"

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney tweeted his condemnation: "Whether in July or August, this kind of hatred is so far from the future we should be trying to build."

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.

This follows efforts which have been made over several years, including a large music concert as part of Feile An Phobail, to divert young people from bonfires.

In July, police announced they were looking into almost 60 potential offences reported as having taken place at 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 photographs emerged of hanging effigies of Sinn Fein president and vice-president Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill, as well as Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, on a bonfire in Carrickfergus.

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