Published Thursday, 14 November 2013
It comes despite a £200,000 scheme aimed at making such events on both sides of the community more positive cultural expressions.
Last summer, one bonfire on the Lower Shankill in west Belfast was lit after being adorned with three tricolours and a Palestinian flag.
Ian McLaughlin, from the Lower Shankill Community Association, said: "The flags appeared on the bonfire in a short period of hours prior to the bonfire being lit.
"I have to say I am disappointed, but I am also not surprised and, to be perfectly honest, I believe that we succeeded in our overall goal, we brought over 800 people together in Lower Shankill on that day. We had a huge community festival."
The money spent by the council was issued to community groups who had to agree that flags or emblems would not be burned. But at half of these events the opposite happened.
Nevertheless, Belfast City Council insists the programme is paying dividends
Máire Hendron, who chairs the council's Good Relations Partnership, said: "The program has been a success over the years - year on year it has improved.
"The report from the police and the Fire Service indicate that the July just passed has been the most successful year of this program. They had fewer call outs. There are always people who will do this sort of thing, but we have plans in the future that will not be tolerated."
Sinn Féin has raised concerns about the programme and said regulations are being flouted without consequence, while the DUP believes much progress has been made.
In the Short Strand in east Belfast, community workers said bonfires in neighbouring communities present them with real problems.
Patricia Johnson, of the Short Strand Partnership, said: "I think it is time to move on - celebrate your culture by all means but not in a way that will harm other people."
Meanwhile, the council is promising sanctions for those who flout their rules next year.
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