Alliance slams burning of Union flags at bonfire in Londonderry
Alliance has condemned the actions of republicans who placed Union flags on a bonfire in Londonderry on Friday night.
The Fire Service was called in to the Bogside where they turned their hoses on shops under threat from the flames.
Alliance's justice spokesman Stewart Dickson MLA said: "It is completely disrespectful to burn the Union flag or any other country's flag on a bonfire. This is a hate-filled crime which seeks to promote division. We must move away from this type of disgraceful action as we seek to build a society where all groups demonstrate respect for other people.
"This is not about being anti-bonfire, but about ensuring that they are built free of flags and other inappropriate materials."
A large crowd gathered at the bonfire beside the Bogside Inn for the August 15 event. The council clean-up operation will cost thousands of pounds.
Sinn Fein has been trying to move away from the tradition of anti-internment bonfires in recent years. However, some hardline republicans continue to support the events.