Facebook page which celebrated Bloody Sunday deaths removed

The group behind the 12-hour union flag vigil planned for St Patrick's Day at Belfast City Hall has taken down its Facebook page.
John Monaghan

A FACEBOOK page for loyalist flag protesters which celebrated the deaths of those killed in Derry on Bloody Sunday has been taken down.

The page of the Loyal Peoples Protest, the group behind a 12-hour Union flag 'vigil' planned for Belfast City Hall on St Patrick's Day, was removed on Tuesday.

At the weekend, as marchers gathered in Derry to mark the 44th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the group had posted an image online of the wounded with the caption: "Paras 14 Republicans 0. Enjoy your day, we did."

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was one of the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday, described the comments as "sick".

It is understood the decision to remove the Facebook page was linked to in-fighting amongst flag protesters, rather than criticism over the comments about Bloody Sunday.

The Loyal Peoples Protest group has been behind the regular weekly union flag protests outside Belfast City Hall, which have occurred every Saturday despite dwindling numbers - with just three people protesting on the last occasion.

Prior to removing its Facebook page, it said it had no intention of calling off a demonstration on March 17, scheduled to start at 1pm outside the City Hall, a day when thousands will converge on the city centre for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

However, two of the most prominent supporters of the original Union flag protests, Ruth Patterson, the former DUP councillor who is contesting the Assembly election as an independent, and her campaign manager Jamie Bryson, a Co Down loyalist, have both spoken of their opposition to the St Patrick's Day protest.

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