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Peace activists miss point of red poppies, says DUP's Gregory Campbell

By Leona O'Neill

A row has broken out in Londonderry after peace activists branded red poppies "propaganda and a glorification of barbarism".

The DUP hit back, saying the only reason that the alternative white poppies can be sold is because people died for freedom.

The Derry Anti War Coaltion has launched an initiative to sell the white 'peace poppy' throughout the city.

The group's Davy McAuley said the white poppy represented peace and was a protest at war deaths.

He said the money raised by the poppies, created by the Peace Pledge Union, will go directly to FAST - First Aid Support Team - for refugees in Calais.

"At this time every year we are surrounded by militarism and a celebration of war," he said.

"We see no real acts of remembrance, just propaganda and glorification of barbarism.

"The concept of the peace poppy is to remember the victims of war and to redouble our efforts to prevent further wars. Most people who die in war will never have a parade or a monument, we wear these to celebrate their lives and protest at their deaths."

But DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: "These people make two fundamental mistakes.

"The traditional poppy is not a symbol of war.

"It is a symbol of remembrance of those who paid the extreme sacrifice and those who were injured so that all the rest of us, including those who want to promote the white poppy, can actually do that.

"The second thing is that they appear to misconstrue what people who sell and wear the red poppy mean by doing it.

"The millions that are raised every year through selling the red poppy go towards helping ex-service personnel who survived the extreme sacrifice and who fought for freedom so that all the rest of us can enjoy these freedoms.

"The irony seems to be lost on people like the Londonderry Anti-War Coalition.

"The only reason that they can sell white poppies is because the people that the rest of us remember traditionally paid the sacrifice to allow them to do so."

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