Northern Ireland

Placing of poppy wreath, King Charles flag, on bonfire condemned as 'deliberate attempt to hurt people'

A car set alight after partial road blocks in and out of the Galliagh park estate last week
A car set alight after partial road blocks in and out of the Galliagh park estate last week A car set alight after partial road blocks in and out of the Galliagh park estate last week

The placing on a bonfire of poppy wreaths and a flag commemorating the coronation of King Charles was condemned as "a deliberate attempt to hurt people" by the leader of the SDLP.

Police are treating the placing of the items on the bonfire in the Galliagh area of Derry as a sectarian hate crime. 

Poppy wreaths, a King Charles coronation flag, a UVF flag and a Traditional Unionist Voice election poster were placed on the anti-internment bonfire.

The PSNI and contractors for the Department for Communities (DfC) last week moved to remove material from the bonfire, which led to some violence in the Galliagh area.

Children guarding the bonfire material being gathered in the Galliagh area of Derry for the upcoming August 15th bonfire which many local residents were opposed to due to ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area.
Children guarding the bonfire material being gathered in the Galliagh area of Derry for the upcoming August 15th bonfire which many local residents were opposed to due to ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area. Children guarding the bonfire material being gathered in the Galliagh area of Derry for the upcoming August 15th bonfire which many local residents were opposed to due to ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area.

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On Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered at the site of the bonfire in the Creggan area. Anti-internment bonfires, once a fixture across the north, largely no longer happen, particularly in Belfast where remembering anti-internment has been replaced by Féile an Phobhail.

Mr Eastwood said the placing of the flags and other items was a "kind of deliberate attempt to hurt people in our community, to degrade their identity is totally wrong”.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. Brian Lawless/PA)
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. Brian Lawless/PA) SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. Brian Lawless/PA)

"Whether it’s people singing about the IRA, or bandsmen insulting the Pope or kids burning election posters and symbols of people’s culture and identity on all sides of our community, it is unacceptable and it shouldn’t be happening,” he said. 

“We need to get better at understanding each other and at preventing deliberately provocative acts designed to hurt the people we share our city and our island with."

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police received a report today, Wednesday, in relation to material placed on a bonfire in Galliagh last night.

“This is being treated as a sectarian hate incident, and enquiries are being made.

“Police are also aware of the provocative display of material, including signs and poppy wreaths, on bonfires in Galliagh and Creggan in Derry last night, August 15, which will be treated as hate crimes and investigated.”