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11 July 2018

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Anger at insulting and sectarian banners on loyalist bonfire

“There can be no place either for the display of naked sectarianism which advocates the killing of anyone of this society or for the burning of election posters and national flags." - Paul Maskey MP

Banners mocking the Ballymurphy massacre justice campaign and calling for the sectarian murder of catholics on a loyalist bonfire in Belfast have sparked anger anger. 

The offensive banners appeared on a bonfire in the loyalist Highfield estate, one of hundreds of loyalist bonfires which will be lit across the north tonight. 

One of the banners appeared to taunt the families of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre in 1971 when British army paratroopers shot dead eleven people between August 9th and 11th. The offensive banner read 'F**K your Ballymurphy massacre Inquiry' - an apparent reference to the families demand for an inquiry into the murders. 

Another banner reading 'Kill all taigs' was also placed on the bonfire alongside election posters of republican and nationalist politicians. 

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey condemned the banners and said he had reported them to the PSNI as a hate crime. 

“This is deeply offensive and hurtful to the families of the victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre who have had to wait almost half a century for answers about the killing of their loved ones by the British army in August 1971.

“There can be no place either for the display of naked sectarianism which advocates the killing of anyone of this society or for the burning of election posters and national flags.

“I am calling on political and community leaders to use their influence to have these very graphic displays of hatred and bigotry removed from the bonfires immediately and Sinn Féin will be raising this matter further later today in a meeting with the police," he said. 

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