Clashes in Derry as flags intimidation escalates


There was some trouble in Derry last weekend amid tension in the city ahead of major sectarian marches to be held on Thursday by the Orange Order.

A handful of petrol bombs and paint bombs were thrown between the unionist Fountain estate and the nationalist Bogside and Creggan areas. The DUP said one petrol bomb landed close to an oil tank in the Fountain estate.

Nationalists in the city have been protesting against an extraordinary level of intimidation by unionists and loyalists. Union Jack flags and red-white-and-blue kerbstones and bunting now dominate the main arterial routes into both the Waterside and Cityside areas of the city.

“Travelling from the Waterside to the Derry side, the different routes I can take such as the Crescent Link to the Foyle Bridge are plastered with flags and there is more and more this year,” one nationalist resident said.

“This year they are painting kerbstones red, white and blue going into Caw Park and also in the area by Abercorn Road it’s the same. At Drumahoe there are flags the size of bedsheets and there’s more in Dungiven Road too.

“I don’t care who’s who, but it is disgusting for people coming into Derry and for Catholics living in Derry it’s a statement in your face: ‘We’re the top dog and you are only second class citizens’. It is getting worse. I am sick, sore and tired of this.”

The man said such displays showed that bigotry still exists in Derry, adding that “nobody does anything about it”, despite lampposts and other infrastructure being paid for by the public.

In east and south Belfast, loyalists have been erecting US confederate flags in an attempt to express race hate alongside sectarianism. A number of south Belfast residents gathered on the Ormeau Road on Tuesday night to call for a commitment to the regulation of flags in the area.

The protest, organised by ‘South Belfast Residents for the Regulation of Flags’, took place at the former police barracks to “call for the retention of south Belfast as a shared, diverse community and against an imposed single-identity community”.

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