Northern Ireland Police Investigate Pope Francis Image Burning


Dublin— The Northern Ireland Police Service said it was investigating a possible crime after an image of Pope Francis was burned in a bonfire.

Other fires – lit by Protestants to commemorate a battle 332 years ago that ended the Catholic monarchy in England – also held signs reading “kill all Taigs”, a pejorative term for Catholics.

Posters and pictures of prominent politicians of Catholic background were also set on fire during the so-called ‘Eleventh Night’ bonfires on the eve of the July 12 commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne.

In a July 13 statement, the police department said it was “gathering evidence” about the incidents.

An image of Pope Francis has been erected at a stake in North Belfast along with election posters belonging to the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin party and the Palestinian flag.

On other sites, election posters belonging to the Social Democratic and Labor Party and the Alliance Party, both supporters of Irish unification, and People Before Profit, an election alliance, also appeared on traffic lights. of joy, just like signs bearing the message “KAT” – kill all Taïgs.

Police said they “received a number of complaints about flags, effigies, election posters and other emblems placed on bonfires”.

“We are gathering evidence regarding these complaints and will review them to determine if any offenses have been committed,” a police spokesperson said.

Sinn Féin councilor Gary McCleave, whose election poster appeared on a bonfire in Belfast, tweeted, saying: “Tonight I have to answer questions from my children who discovered this on social media, why their daddy is on a bonfire to burn. It’s not culture, it’s a hate crime. Those who are part of political unionism must show leadership and stand up against this sectarian hatred.

July 12 is celebrated by many Protestants as the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne which took place in 1690 in what is now the Republic of Ireland along the River Boyne. The forces of Catholic King James II of England and Ireland were defeated by Dutch Prince William of Orange who then ruled as King William III.

James, the last Catholic King of England, died in exile in France in 1701 and his defeat in 1690 marked the decisive end to attempts to reclaim the monarchy from Catholic hands.

The Orangemen – who lit the bonfires every year – take their name from William of Orange.

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