Police are treating the burning of flags and banners on a bonfire in the Bogside area of Derry last night (15th August) as a ‘hate crime.’
The flags and banners on display included Parachute Regiment and Soldier F flags. Soldier F is the ex-British Army soldier facing prosecution for two murders on Bloody Sunday in 1972.
In a social media post, PSNI Foyle stated: “The display of this material has been perceived as offensive and distasteful.
We are treating this as a hate incident and will continue to gather evidence as this evening continues. Where crimes have been committed and suspects identified they will be brought before the courts.”
Bonfires on 15th August are traditional in some Nationalist areas of Northern Ireland, as a way of celebrating the Catholic Feast of the Assumption. They may also be lit throughout the month of August to commemorate the internment without trial of republican suspects, introduced on 9th-10th August 1971.
Also in the Bogside area of the city last night, the annual Gasyard Feile festival had their Festival of Fire celebration on the hills below the Derry City Walls, not far from the bonfire location. This event was attended by thousands of spectators, and included a fireworks show as well as an earlier parade and concert at the Free Derry Corner.