Northern Ireland

Bonfire With Bloody Sunday Banners Treated As Hate Incident

Union and loyalist flags were also put on the fire.

The main bonfire burns in the Bogside area of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to mark the Catholic Feast of the Assumption (Picture: PA).

A bonfire festooned with flags and abusive placards about the soldier being prosecuted for murders on Bloody Sunday is being treated as a hate incident.

Parachute Regiment material was placed all over the pyre before it was ignited on Thursday night in Londonderry's nationalist Bogside estate, close to the scene of the 1972 shootings.

Union and loyalist flags were also put on the fire.

A number of fire engines attended and doused a nearby building with water to ensure it did not catch light.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland in Foyle said it was treating the matter as a "hate incident": "As a police service, we recognise the hurt and frustration that this can cause.

"The display of this material has been perceived as offensive and distasteful."

A veteran paratrooper, known as Solider F, is facing prosecution for two murders and four attempted murders on Bloody Sunday.

Thirteen civil rights demonstrators were killed when paratroopers opened fire on crowds in Derry in January 1972 in what was one of the most notorious incidents of the Troubles.

The case of Soldier F, which is due to reach court for the first time in September, has become the subject of intense controversy in Northern Ireland and beyond.