Irish Republican News · June 14, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Para flags raised but Bloody Sunday insult dismissed


Inflammatory flags displaying the winged insignia of the British Army’s murderous Parachute Regiment have appeared at several flashpoints in Belfast and Derry.

The flag’s introduction is seen as deliberately provocative because of the Parachute Regiment’s involvement in the killing of 14 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday, the killing of 11 people over three days in Ballymurphy, west Belfast in 1971, and other atrocities.

Flags supporting the killer regiment have also appeared along the Donegall Road in south Belfast at the side entrance of the City Hospital and at Broadway roundabout.

Despite the obvious provocation to nationalists on the eve of the marching season, the PSNI have said they will take down the flags only if a “threat to life” exists.

The situation with loyalist flags has deteriorted since December, when Belfast City Council voted to reduce the flying of the British flag atop City Hall. After weeks of often violent protests and illegal marches hundreds of UVF paramilitary flags were erected on main roads in east Belfast in April. As the PSNI looked on, masked paramilitaries stopped traffic while using cherry-pickers to reach lampposts.

Flags with the Parachute Regiment’s insignia have also now beeen erected in Derry close to the area where the Bloody Sunday killings took place.

SDLP Policing Board member Conall McDevitt last night called on the PSNI to clarify their position.

“This sends out the totally wrong message and is at odds with what has been said previously,” he said.

Mr McDevitt pointed to a joint statement after talks between police, politicians and community leaders in Cardiff last month in which delegates pledged to “uphold the rule of law”.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly also asked whether the PSNI statement represented a change in policy.

“Previously the PSNI have stated that they would act where the circumstances could arise where the displaying of flags could lead to a breach of the peace or serious public order issues,” he said.

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© 2013 Irish Republican News