KKK flag removed in east Belfast

Published Tuesday, 01 July 2014
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A Ku Klux Klan flag that was erected in east Belfast has been removed following condemnation from political representatives.

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Ms Long said the flag bearing the logo of the KKK appeared off Island Street on Monday.

She has slammed those responsible, commenting that the flag has added "an even more sinister edge" to recent race-related incidents in the city.

Ms Long said she had received a number of complaints from constituents and has informed the PSNI.

A police spokesperson said they held discussions with local representatives, who then removed the flag on Tuesday.

It is absolutely outrageous, how some local idiot puts up a flag and gets a reputation for the area... This does not represent the people of east Belfast; it doesn't represent the unionist or loyalist community.

First Minister Peter Robinson

Ms Long commented: "Yet again we see those who wish to bully anyone different from them use flags and emblems to assert dominance and control over a community. To do so at all is to be condemned but to put up these flags in broad daylight shows just how brazen the culprits are.

"To use flags hailing a hate group such as the KKK is sickening and lends a further menacing element to recent events. It is essential that every right-thinking person unites against those who engage in racist, bigoted or otherwise intolerant behaviour and does so with consistency.

"It is also critical that the all-party talks this week stop ducking the issue of the use and abuse of flags and emblems for the purposes of intimidation, and face up to dealing substantively with this challenge to a shared future and to the rule of law."

East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton has also condemned those who put up the flag.

"Across Northern Ireland there are many streets decorated for the celebratory period around the 12th July. The erection of a Ku Klux Klan flag in East Belfast has no place as part of these celebrations, or anywhere in our society," he said.

"The flying of such a flag is disgusting. It does not represent the people of East Belfast, of loyalists, and particularly of all those people who today, remember the sacrifice of those men who laid down their lives at the Battle of the Somme."

Michael Copeland, Ulster Unionist MLA for the area, added: "I welcome the fact that the flag has been swiftly taken down, but it should never have been put up in the first place.

"A defunct American racist organisation has absolutely no connection or affinity with the people of East Belfast," he said.

"Whoever put the flag up clearly has little or no understanding of his or her culture or history. This on a day when we pause to remember the sacrifice of the Ulstermen and Irishmen who died for our freedom, in the uniform of the British Army on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916."

© UTV News
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71 Comments
Keen observer in Greater belfast wrote (21 days ago):
Having read through the various comments on here ,it seems the majority of people in the east of the city do not want or condone this type of racist,hateful, intolerant behaviour . But sadly it will continue because the political leaders lack the will ,or ability to stop it.last summer I personally saw the jolly rodger flag (yes seriously) flying in a loyalist estate in Lisburn so without action how long will it be until we see a swastika flag hoisted up a lamppost next ? The people doing it seem really insecure about their identity to me. Our society is arguably more divided now than pre 1994. Please sort this nonsense out as we are made to look like uneducated , racist , knuckle draggers to the rest of the world.
Observer in Online wrote (21 days ago):
Ronan in America - interesting comment, thanks for your reasoned input. People here are very quick to appear outraged and call for a ban on everything and anything they don't agree with, and much as I dislike seeing a KKK flag or ANY paramilitary flag flying we are in a free country and flying a flag like this may be distasteful but not illegal, hence it is not the job of the PSNI to run around taking down flags, it is up to elected community representatives to do their jobs and sort out the community problems!
Ger brady in Lurgan wrote (21 days ago):
There are some complete racists in Northern Ireland as demonstrated by the recent graffiti in east Belfast & moygashel,the flying of paramilitary and klu klux clan flags and the increasing amount of attacks on non nationals. Such acts do nothing for the reputation of Northern Ireland abroad. However those that put up such flags in an attempt to mark out territory or intimitate others do not appreciate, understand or care about the seriousness of their actions and any potential impact it may have. They are petty, mindless and stupid and in an attempt to bring everyone down to their level they show an appaling lack of ignorance.
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (21 days ago):
@Ronan in America The main difference are that but not inclusive to 1. America has a bill of rights 2. An effective policing system 3. It does no negotiate with terrorists. 4. Has a judicial system fit for purpose. 5 A properly regulated education system. I understand freedom but I, like the people who live in that area, just do not want to be associated with the KKK and that is why the flag had to come down.
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (21 days ago):
@Joe in East Belfast I am not starting a new discussion or blaming anyone else. You are right one idiot out of the tens of thousands of people who live in East Belfast put up an idiotic flag. I know they have no support here, I live here. I do not need to deflect heat. I didn't put the flag up and I don't know who did. The person or people that did don't speak for me or the people of east Belfast. I did not mention the Union flag protest at all. What I am doing is pointing out that this is incident although it has made headlines does not have any real ramifications. This flag does not cause poverty for millions of people I did not mention the Union flag protest at all. If the subject is Racism then the EU is involved. Its existence creates privilege for whites and discrimination against blacks. It creates and maintains poverty and control over the third world for our benefit. Both the BNP and the AFA are violent thugs every bit as bad as our own paramilitaries. If this is the next issue to hit our streets then it is important people know this. I would rather use my voice to try to make a difference by educating and protesting. If we really want to address racism we might as well start with the worst offenders and that is the EU. I try to look for and give solutions, have you any?
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