Published Friday, 13 September 2013
There was public outcry when it emerged that the painting, on a wall at Inverwood Court in Sydenham, was to be changed.
It went up three years ago with European funding as part of a regeneration project managed by Belfast City Council to tackle sectarianism - but last week work got underway to replace it with a paramilitary image of a masked gunman.
Local councillor John Kyle said that work is now on hold.
Speaking to UTV, the PUP man said: "The painting of the mural has been suspended, but there are ongoing discussions with the people who were behind the changing of the mural and a recognition that there had been a huge public outcry.
"The reaction has been overwhelmingly negative to the idea of putting a masked gunman on a gable end wall and replacing a mural of George Best, who of course is one of east Belfast's most famous sons."
The new painting shows a gunman along with the Martin Luther King quote: 'Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed'.
Belfast City Council said they had not been aware of plans to replace it.
A spokesman said: "In 2010, Belfast City Council, as part of the council's PEACE III project 'Tackling the Physical Manifestations of Sectarianism', provided £1,500 towards the material costs of a mural in memory of George Best.
"This mural replaced an old UVF mural and was welcomed by the community at the time.
"There was no stipulation, relating to the granting of funding for the original project, as to how long the mural had to remain in place.
"The council was unaware of any plans to replace it."
Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has welcomed the "good news" there has been a u-turn following concern from local people.
"There was public outcry in relation to the removal of the George Best mural which depicted a very positive aspect of heritage in east Belfast," he told UTV.
"Indeed there can be no place for paramilitarism of any kind against the wishes of the wider community but we do need to find a long-term solution to murals and indeed the illegal display of flags as well."
© UTV News