Belfast Telegraph

Derry council passes motion to light up civic buildings in colours of Palestinian flag after violence in Gaza

By Peter Hutcheon, local democracy reporter

Derry City and Strabane District Council has passed a motion to light up civic buildings in the Palestine colours of black, white, green and red for a 48-hour period following last week's violence in Gaza.

More than 60 demonstrators were killed and more than 2,000 were injured by Israeli defence forces.

The Sinn Fein motion was passed at a special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council at the Guildhall on Monday.

"This is an important issue and we need to send a clear message of solidarity," said Sandra Duffy, proposing.

"The people of Derry have a long history of standing against aggression and last week two rallies in protest at what happened in Gaza were held.

"Israel must be held accountable for its actions."

Seconding the proposal, SDLP group leader Martin Reilly said: "The actions of the Israeli defence forces are of grave concern around the world.

"It is not appropriate for defence forces to use live ammunition for crowd control and that has led to these deaths and injuries.

"There is a degree of anger in this city because of the history of Bloody Sunday."

Independent Unionist Maurice Devenney was the only dissenting voice in the chamber as the DUP opted not to attend.

"My concern at this is that there are issues locally that we as a council should be dealing with," he said.

"We are wasting our time writing letters which are just going to be ignored, ripped up and thrown in the bin."

The motion was passed by 22 votes to one.

A proposal by Alderman Devenney to have council buildings lit up in the colours of the American flag for a 48-hour period to acknowledge the victims of last week's school shooting in Texas was ruled out of order by mayor Maoliosa McHugh.

The council is also to consider the expense of writing to every home and business in the council area to inform them of the products on the BDS boycott of Israeli products list.

Councillors supported a proposal from Sandra Duffy to look at the costs of posting out a leaflet to every house and business with the information, which had been proposed by independent councillor Paul Gallagher.

"If people didn't take a stand on these issues, then we would still have apartheid," he said.

"There is confusion about what is on the list and this council has to get the message out to every household and business.

"The most effective way to do that is for it to land on people's doormats."

Querying the cost of the proposal, SDLP councillor Tina Gardiner said.

"I believe in the boycott but I don't see the sense of putting out thousands of bits of paper many of which will just end up in the bin."

Alderman Devenney said: "There are serious issues of funding being cut to community groups.

"And there will be many people who will not want this landing in their door."

The dates to have council buildings lit up in Palestinian colours has yet to be se

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