Israeli flags burned by Northern Irish nationalists
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Israeli flags burned by Northern Irish nationalists

British Union flags also incinerated in huge bonfire in Derry, in an event deemed a ‘hate crime’ by police

British and Israeli flags on a bonfire that was later set ablaze on August 15, 2018 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Screenshot: Twitter)
British and Israeli flags on a bonfire that was later set ablaze on August 15, 2018 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Israeli flags were burned Wednesday in Northern Ireland, along with various other flags, as part of an annual ritual bonfire by nationalists described by local police as a “hate crime.”

British Union flags adorned a huge bonfire set alight in the city of Derry by the Northern Irish Republicans, who support independence from the United Kingdom.

A banner bearing the name of US President Donald Trump and his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” was also burned.

Also set ablaze were posters with the names of four police officers murdered by protesters in the 1970s, prompting relatives of the officers to slam those responsible.

The Republicans repeat the ritual in the neighborhood of Bogside every year on August 15, to commemorate the killing of 14 protesters by British soldiers in 1972 — an incident known as Bloody Sunday. Israeli flags were burned last year too.

On Wednesday, there were Palestinian flags flying next to the murals honoring the dead protesters.

Northern Irish nationalists are traditionally pro-Palestinian, viewing the Palestinian struggle to achieve statehood as similar to their own.

After the bonfire was set ablaze, three petrol bombs were reportedly hurled at Derry’s ancient city walls, with a suspect being arrested.

“We take hate crime very seriously and actively investigate all incidents reported to us,” said local police inspector Paul McCracken, quoted by British media.

“Hate crime is wrong on all levels and the Police Service of Northern Ireland will do everything it can to ensure that everyone, from whatever background, can live free from prejudice, fear and discrimination,” he added.

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