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16th Aug 2019

Bogside bonfire: Republicans party and burn paratrooper effigy

The annual bonfire in Derry drew a crowd of thousands

Oli Dugmore

The annual bonfire in Derry drew a crowd of thousands

Thousands of people descended on the Bogside for its annual bonfire on August 15.

Typically the fire commemorates a religious festival for the Catholic community but had additional significance this year, the 50th anniversary of a popular rebellion against sectarian policing – the Battle of the Bogside – and the upcoming trial of ‘Soldier F.’

‘F’ was a paratrooper in the British Army and is charged with murdering two unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday.

The Bogside bonfire was mainly constructed out of pallets by local young people but on the day professional signs materialised on the site reading “Free Derry says no to state terrorism” and bearing the Parachute Regiment emblem. Another carried the simple slogan “Fuck Soldier F.”

JOE spoke to attendees about the day’s symbolism, celebrations and significance to the Bogside, who explained the reasoning behind their tradition.