The PSNI police were accused of helping to erect a banner in support of killer British soldiers of the Parachute regiment at a busy junction in Armagh this week.
At least one PSNI man was seen to have provided support for loyalists as they hoisted a street banner in the centre of Armagh for soldiers facing potential prosecution for murder.
A number of similar banners have been erected in towns across the North without response by the PSNI, despite causing huge offence to the families of the Paras’ victims. Politicians have denounced the banners as hate crimes.
The latest banner was erected at a junction used by thousands of vehicles each day, close to a PSNI base and the historic former women’s prison where a republican hunger strike took place.
It reads “Armagh opposes the witch hunt against our British veterans” and carries the logo of the Parachute Regiment as well as the slogan ‘No apology, no surrender’.
Similar banners have been erected in loyalist areas across the north in recent months after it emerged that a former paratrooper, known as ‘Soldier F’, is to face prosecution for the murder of two men on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1971. The banner campaign also coincides with the Ballymurphy inquest which is examining the killing of 10 Catholic men and women over three days in August 1971 in west Belfast.
Sinn Féin’s Mickey Brady said he would seek an urgent meeting with the PSNI.
“It is wrong that this banner has been erected in Armagh city centre in the first instance but it is absolutely unacceptable that the PSNI stood by at the bottom of the ladder and watched while a masked man put it up,” said Mr Brady, who is a Westminster MP for the area.
“Incidents like this do nothing to support efforts to build community confidence in the PSNI.
“I have called for an urgent meeting with the PSNI over this and will be challenging them to explain why police officers stood by and watched while a masked man was in the city centre in broad daylight.”