Northern Ireland news

Confederate flags erected in Belfast

Confederate flags have appeared in Dee Street in east Belfast. Picture by Jack O'Dwyer-Henry on Twitter
@JackODwyerHenry

CONFEDERATE flags have been erected in east and south Belfast.

The flag is currently banned in six American states and online retailers such as Amazon have stopped selling it because of racist connotations.

Associated with the Confederate States of America, it was used as the battle flag of General Robert E Lee's army but later also to show opposition to the American civil rights movement in the late 1940s.

More recently it has been adopted by white supremacist groups and the far right, with calls for it to be banned completely.

In 2015 members of a football club removed a Confederate flag that had been placed on a lamppost outside the east Belfast home of one of its young players.

Police described the incident at the time as a hate crime.

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A Confederate flag has now appeared in south Belfast over a mural of former snooker legend Alex Higgins.

The mural faces a youth hostel used by international tourists.

Flags also reappeared close to Dee Street in east Belfast.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police fully understand that the flying of flags can cause frustration in some communities.

"It is our experience that such issues are most successfully resolved through engagement and collaborative working between local communities and their representatives and police are always ready and willing to be a partner in such arrangements.

"In the meantime, the PSNI will continue to work with communities and respond to any issue where there is a concern for public safety or where it is believed a criminal offence has occurred."

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Northern Ireland news