Flying of Para flags alongside Union Flag and Ulster Banner a provocative bid to ‘raise tensions’

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A Sinn Féin councillor has branded the erection of Parachute Regiment flags in the Waterside as a deliberate provocation and an attempt to raise tensions in the area.

Councillor Christopher Jackson said the flying of the flags, alongside the Union Flag and the Ulster Banner on one of the main thoroughfares on the east bank of the Foyle, was “insensitive and inflammatory”.

He made his comments after receiving complaints from constituents that flags bearing the insignia of the regiment responsible for the massacre of 13 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, had been erected on lampposts along the Rossdowney Road from the junction of Glendermott Road.

He said: “I was contacted by a number of people at the weekend angered about the erecting of these flags.

“Given the brutal history of the Parachute Regiment in this city the putting up of these flags is being seen as provocation in an effort to raise tensions in the greater Waterside area at a time when many others are working night and day for a peaceful summer.”

Colr. Jackson said the flying of the flag of a regiment, that was also responsible for the death of 11 civilians in Ballymurphy in August 1971, and the death of two civilians on the Shankill Road in September 1972, was a recurring problem in the area.

He called on unionist leaders to do more to address the issue.

“We had a similar number of incidents in Derry last year and we seen the anger in the city two weeks ago about flags at the Caw roundabout. We now need to see leadership from within unionism to ensure that such flags are removed,” said the councillor.