Belfast Telegraph

Artist 'intimidated' by theft of loyalist banner put on nationalist bonfire

The artist who created a loyalist artwork which ended up on a republican bonfire says she feels intimidated and upset.

Student Chyanne Holmes made the banner five years ago as part of a community project in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast.

The PSNI confirmed on Thursday that the mural had been stolen from Linfield Road at around 11.45pm last Wednesday.

It was photographed on an anti-internment bonfire due to be lit on Thursday night in the Divis area.

The 21-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph: “I’ve never felt this in my entire life, even with living in Sandy Row, but I feel very intimidated.

“I’m highly upset because it was a community project that was taken. I wouldn’t have been upset if it was paramilitary or political.

“Not even just for myself but for the community, they all said they were upset that this was taken and as we see, the stolen banner is on top of a bonfire and we can’t do anything about it.”

Chyanne, who is currently studying for a masters, said she doesn’t want the artwork back.

She added: “I know with the tensions around this area, things like that are stolen all time and I’m not expecting it back.

“But I would like that justice be done on my part and the investigation be thoroughly carried out.”

There was also condemnation after Irish News reporter Allison Morris was attacked by bottle-throwing males at Divis on Thursday evening.

Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, tweeted his disgust at the incident: "The attack on a journalist from the so-called guardians of the Divis bonfire is a disgrace.

"They are celebrating nothing but disrespect."

It is understood bonfires were also lit at Short Strand and Beechmount.

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