Nationalist bonfires lit in Londonderry

Traditional August bonfires have been lit in nationalist areas across Londonderry.

The Derry pyres are lit to mark the Catholic Feast of the Assumption.

Ahead of the fires, organisers had been urged to comply with coronavirus regulations that limit the size of outdoor gatherings to 30 people.

Catholic Feast of the Assumption
Catholic Feast of the Assumption

At one of the main bonfires, in the Bogside, a significantly larger number gathered to watch as it was lit late on Saturday night.

Several of the fires continue to be a source of controversy within the city, with young bonfire builders criticised for anti-social behaviour and burning items and symbols associated with the unionist tradition.

On the Bogside fire a picture of the Queen was attached to the structure before it was torched.

Union flags, Northern Ireland flags and a US and Israeli flag were also placed on the stacks of wooden pallets, as were flags of the Parachute Regiment – the regiment whose soldiers were responsible for the Bloody Sunday shootings in the city in 1972.

Bonfire in the Bogside
Bonfire in the Bogside

The DUP had reported the placement of poppy wreaths on another fire – in Curryneirin on the Waterside of the city.

The fires were ignited just over a month after loyalist bonfires were lit across Northern Ireland to usher in the main date of the Protestant loyal order calendar, the Twelfth of July.

Many loyalist bonfire builders face similar criticism on an annual basis, with nationalist items and symbols regularly burned on the Eleventh Night.