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MLA's call for hate crime probe into vile bonfire banners

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Signs and flags on the Cregagh estate bonfire

Signs and flags on the Cregagh estate bonfire

Signs and flags on the Cregagh estate bonfire

An Alliance Policing Board member has asked the PSNI to investigate bonfire images for possible hate crimes.

South Antrim MLA John Blair said he was disgusted after offensive messages were placed on some bonfires across Northern Ireland.

Election posters, the names of individual Catholics, and signs saying KAT (Kill All Taigs) were placed on a number of pyres.

A ghoulish banner, carrying images of the late IRA leader Bobby Storey and of his funeral, was also burned.

Mr Blair said that while many bonfires had passed without major incident, some had displayed "hateful and hurtful messages" which didn't make them the family-friendly occasions they claimed to be.

"Images containing people's names, election posters, national flags or displays about killing people are not a celebration of culture, but rather about promoting hatred and they have no place in our society," he said.

"I have asked the PSNI to investigate potential breaches of hate crime legislation in relation to a number of these bonfires.

"All of us have a job to do in taking collective action to bring these sorts of provocative displays to an end.

"That will require political leadership at different levels and, of course, in the community itself, as many people in local areas do not want this on their doorstep."

Mr Blair also condemned as "deplorable" attacks by nationalist youths on the PSNI in north Belfast. Former DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly said: "I don't know anyone in the unionist or loyalist community that believes in 'KAT' so lets cut out the abuse.

"Stupid graffiti that doesn't represent PUL communities at all, so let's pull together.

"Enjoy our culture, celebrate your identity and push out hate!"

The DUP group leader on Belfast City Council George Dorrian said: "We should be celebrating all that's good about unionism and loyalism.

"Behaviour like this is an embarrassment at best, and undermines the good work going on all-year round. Time for some to seriously wise up and think beyond the end of the week."

Bonfires lit across Northern Ireland July 2020 [Photos] Close

The 11th night bonfire is light at Flora Street,  east Belfast . Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

The 11th night bonfire is light at Flora Street, east Belfast . Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Eleventh night celebrations take place at Pitt Park in east Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The 11th night bonfire is light at Flora Street,  east Belfast . Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

The 11th night bonfire is light at Flora Street, east Belfast . Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

Sandy Row bonfire. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Sandy Row bonfire. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

 The Eleventh night bonfire is light at Moneyreagh Co.Down. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

The Eleventh night bonfire is light at Moneyreagh Co.Down. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

The 11th night bonfire is light at Flora Street, east Belfast . Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 11-07-11

Belfast Telegraph