KKK flag erected in East Belfast - now removed

A Ku Klux Klan flag in East Belfast
A Ku Klux Klan flag in East Belfast

A Ku Klux Klan flag erected in East Belfast and condemned as “sinister” has been removed.

The PSNI have started an inquiry into the incident.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Discussions took place with the community and a KKK flag in Island Street has been removed by local representatives.

“Inquiries into this incident are ongoing.”

Earlier East Belfast MP Naomi Long hit out at those behind the erection of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) flag in her constituency.

She said the appearance of the flag off Island Street on June 30 added “an even more sinister edge” to recent race-related incidents in the city.

“To use flags hailing a hate group such as the KKK is sickening and lends a further menacing element to recent events,” she said.

“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 also told of his disgust at the erection of a Ku Klux Klan flag in East Belfast.

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.”

Mr Newton added: “Only this week, representatives from across East Belfast came together to devise a strategy to combat racism. Such efforts represent the real face of East Belfast and not the tiny minority who believe they can display such intolerance and aggression.

It is vital that those thugs who have engaged in racist attacks, and who want to send out such a threatening and aggressive message to people from an ethnic minority background are identified and face the full weight of the law.’