Blair: Bonfire behaviour is simply abhorrent

Alliance Policing Board member John Blair has said he is “extremely concerned” after images from a bonfire in the Londonderry area show poppy wreaths and flags being burnt.

John said: “Derry has already witnessed scenes of violence this summer – scenes no-one wants to see under normal circumstances, never mind in the middle of a serious health pandemic.

“These latest pictures are extremely concerning and another example of unwanted sectarianism and an attack on others – including our war dead and it is simply abhorrent to see their memory treated in such a vile way.

“Whatever the situation or occasion the burning of flags, effigies and images is wrong and is likely to constitute a hate crime. On this occasion this behaviour is all the more disappointing as prior to this an inter-agency and community-led approach had been making some progress in reducing bonfires in the area. Unfortunately despite this good work some are still too focused on displays of intolerance and hate and I would urge them to think about the impact of their actions.”