Belfast Telegraph

Concerns after UVF flags erected in east Belfast

By John Mulgrew

Residents have raised concerns after a series of 'UVF flags' were erected in east Belfast.

According to east Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle the flags were put up ahead of a forthcoming parade to mark the centenary of the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force.

He said he had been contacted by local residents in the area, angry over the erecting of the flags on main routes.

"I have been contacted by local residents in east Belfast who are angry at the erection of UVF flags along key arterial routes, without consultation or notification," he said.

"The allegation that men with masked identities used elevated work platform vehicles in broad day light to erect the flags is particularly sinister and a challenge for the rule of law.

“Residents who object to this behaviour were not consulted, the organisations concerned are regarded as paramilitary and government agencies have taken no action to remove the flags.

"I have been in contact with the PSNI to inform them of residents’ concerns and ask what action they can take with the other agencies to address this matter."

Mr Lyttle has also called on the First and Deputy First Ministers, along with the PSNI, to "comprehensively address the misuse of all flags and emblems".

This afternoon a spokesman for the PSNI said it was "aware that flags are being erected in East Belfast in relation to the 1913 Commemoration Parade taking place next Saturday".

"These flags are being erected along the route of the parade and are not related to a proscribed organisation," it said.

"Senior police officers will be meeting with community and political representatives together with parade organisers early next week to address any concerns.

"Parade organisers have given their assurances that these flags will be removed immediately following next Saturday's parade."

The UVF was founded a century ago by Sir Edward Carson to fight against Home Rule.

However in 1966 the paramilitary organisation, the UVF, was formed to combat what it saw as a rise in Irish nationalism - adopting the same name.

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