Northern Ireland

Eleventh night bonfires take place across Northern Ireland

A silhouette of a fire fighter dampening down a building Image copyright PA
Image caption A firefighter dampens down surrounding buildings on Cluan Place, east Belfast

Eleventh night bonfires have been taking place across Northern Ireland.

Traditionally, bonfires are lit in many loyalist areas to mark the start of the annual commemoration of William of Orange's victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said they had resolved 13 bonfire incidents on Tuesday night.

However, it said it was also responding to a "significant number" of other bonfire-related callouts.

The PSNI say they are investigating complaints about "distasteful" materials placed on some bonfires.

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney called on unionist politicians to condemn "hatemongers" who put a replica coffin bearing the image of Martin McGuinness, who died in March, on a bonfire in east Belfast.

"I am directly challenging the leaders of all unionists parties to immediately disassociate themselves and their parties from this and other examples of sectarian hate crime," he said.

Martin McGuinness' son Emmett tweeted: "I am very thankful that I was raised by parent's never to hate anyone or anything. Michelle O'Neill is right, the annual display of hate must end."

Image copyright PA
Image caption A replica casket with a picture of the former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness hung on a bonfire in east Belfast

Images also emerged on social media of a bonfire in east Belfast draped with a banner carrying a racist message directed at Celtic footballer Scott Sinclair.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "Police are investigating complaints about various materials, some of which are clearly distasteful, placed on the bonfire.

"Where police are aware of a crime being committed, an investigation will follow.

"We take hate crime very seriously and actively investigate all incidents reported to us," it added.

Earlier on Tuesday, a number of homes close to a large bonfire in east Belfast were boarded up to protect the properties from heat damage when the fire is lit.

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