Parachute Regiment flags erected at popular tourist spots
PARACHUTE Regiment flags have appeared in tourist locations in both in Carrickfergus and east Belfast, in what is seen as an act of support for a former member of the regiment charged with murdering two innocent civil rights marchers.
The flags have appeared in various locations across Northern Ireland since the announcement last month that a retired member of he regiment is to be prosecuted in connection with events on Bloody Sunday.
In March the Public Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to prosecute Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.
The two were shot dead at a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.
The prosecution announcement was a disappointment to the families who had thought more former soldiers would have faced prosecution.
It was also condemned by backbench Westminster MPs who have been campaigning for a statute of limitations for former members of the military who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
Regimental flags have appeared close to CS Lewis Square in east Belfast, a place popular with tourists visiting the city as well as a long a main road close to Carrickfergus Castle.
A banner stating 'Carrickfergus stands with Soldier F - Stop persecuting our veterans' has also been placed close to the historic coastal landmark.
Flags from the British army regiment have also appeared in Derry and Cookstown over the last number of weeks.
A separate banner in support of Soldier F was put up in the centre of Portadown, Co Armagh, last night.
Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd said the banner was designed to cause divisions and called for it to be removed.
"The banner proclaiming support for a murder suspect is not appropriate," he said.
"The victims of Bloody Sunday deserve the truth just as much as any victim of the conflict.
"This banner should be removed immediately."