Journalist attacked at Divis bonfire

Journalist attacked at Divis bonfire

A female journalist has reported being attacked at the site of an anti-internment bonfire in west Belfast - where stolen loyalist artwork is believed to have been place on top of the structure.

Allison Morris from the Irish News took to Twitter on Thursday to speak out about being attacked with bottles in the Divis area.

"Tourists looking on shocked," she said, adding that some of those involved were grown men and that they had been drunk and abusive.

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey also addressed the episode on Twitter.

"The attack on a journalist from the so-called guardians of the Divis bonfire is a disgrace. They are celebrating nothing but disrespect," he said.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the stolen artwork was taken from the Linfield Road area of south Belfast at about 11.45pm on Wednesday evening, before turning up on the Divis bonfire.

A local community representative told UTV there were concerns that tensions would be heightened.

"It wasn't a sectarian mural - it was a cultural mural that a young person in the area did as a youth project," Sam Hillerby told UTV.

"When we came out of our houses and it was gone, it was quite upsetting. People want the police to actually go to the Divis site and get it because, at the end of the day, that is the police's job."

A PSNI spokesman said: "It is believed the stolen mural is currently on a bonfire in the Divis area, which has led to a number of concerns being raised by local residents.

"Police are currently engaging with local community representatives in both areas in an attempt to reduce tensions and resolve the issue."

Anti-internment bonfires are lit to commemorate the introduction of the detention without trial of republican suspects in the 1970s.

© UTV

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