Concerns have been raised after a “good relations officer” at a Northern Ireland council was pictured at a demonstration where an Islamic terror group’s flag was flown.
The protest in Dungannon saw a crowd of residents show support for Palestinians under Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip.
Among those present was Oliver Morgan, a council worker; and just to his right one demonstrator was flying the flag of the Lebanese party Hezbollah.
UUP MLA Tom Elliott expressed qualms about the display of such a flag, and the presence of Mr Morgan at the event.
He said: “Obviously it gives me some concern that a good relations officer of the council is protesting in such a manner beside a Hezbollah flag, especially given the history of that organisation.”
When it was put to Mr Elliott that Mr Morgan — who could not be contacted for comment — may say that he had no control over someone else displaying a flag at the protest, the MLA: “That could be possible, but obviously that’s a matter for him to explain.”
He added that he would like to see a ceasefire from both sides in Gaza, but said: “I don’t think it’s helpful to come out on the side of one rather than the other.”
There was no response from the council last night.
Hezbollah is a Shi’ite political party (“the Party of God”) based in south Lebanon, where it also has a strong paramilitary presence.
It is not directly involved in the current Gaza conflict, but has a history of battling Israel, which formerly occupied south Lebanon.
Like Hamas, it has used rocket attacks, and has also been accused of carrying out suicide bombings.
Lately it been involved in the bloody Syrian civil war on the side of the Assad regime.
Last year, the EU ruled that its military wing should be regarded as a terrorist organisation, and it is also proscribed in the UK.