Northern Ireland

Newry anti-internment bonfire display is 'hate incident'

Some of the signs and flags placed on the Newry bonfire
Image caption Some of the signs and flags placed on the Newry bonfire

Police are treating signs on an anti-internment bonfire that mocked murdered members of the security forces as a "hate incident".

The bonfire in Newry, County Down, references 18 soldiers who died in an IRA bomb attack at Narrow Water, Warrenpoint, in August 1979.

The signs also refer to a policeman and prison officer who were murdered by dissident republicans.

Insp Moore said the PSNI recognised the "hurt and frustration" caused to many.

"The display of this material has been perceived as offensive and distasteful," she said.

"Should evidence come to light that a crime has been committed and suspects identified they will be brought before the courts," she added.

Signs on the bonfire in Parkhead housing estate named Constable Stephen Carroll and prison officer David Black, who were shot dead in separate attacks by dissident republicans.

'Sickened'

The signs also contain sectarian slogans and mock the recently deceased victims' campaigner Willie Frazer, whose father was murdered by the IRA.

David Black's son, who became a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor earlier this year, said he was "absolutely sickened" by the signs.

"I will never understand the mentality of those who seek to cause further hurt by placing the names of our loved ones on a bonfire," said Kyle Black.

In addition to the signs, the Parkhead bonfire builders placed union flags and the flag of the Parachute Regiment on the pyre.

Bonfires are lit in some republican areas in early August to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment - or detention without trial - on 9 August 1971.

In Belfast, three police officers were injured after trouble flared at the site of an anti-internment bonfire in New Lodge on Thursday.

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