Photographs have emerged purporting to show an armed republican on the streets of Derry last week.
Follow this link to find out more: https://photos.app.goo.gl/fYEXgs1PBgtJrhN6 a masked man with what appears to be a rifle on the streets of Co Derry
Captured by French politics PhD student Hadrien Holstein, the grainy pictures show a masked man posing with what appears to be a rifle close to the controversial Bogside bonfire.
Scrawled on a gable wall behind the shadowy figure was the one-word slogan ‘INLA’. The pictures were taken late on Thursday night, as the bonfire was under construction. Mr Holstein (26), a doctoral student at the University of Paris-Nanterre, has been researching Irish Republicinism for the past five years, and has published several academic papers on the subject. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, the student said the gunman had emerged from the shadows close to the bonfire and had issued a chilling threat to the security forces.
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“I was covering for my own work the bonfire on the Bogside. “I decided to spend some moments during the night at the bonfire,” the student said. “And at one moment, someone made me a sign, called me to come over – and there was the gunman.” The PhD student asked the gunman if he could take a photograph. “He said OK, and made a short statement,” he said. “He said he was from the Republican Movement, Derry Brigade. “I asked for a precious group, but he didn’t reply. “He said he was looking for RUC child abusers, and said all Crown Forces are legitimate targets. “Then he turned away and went back to where he had come from.”
The incident took place around midnight on Thursday, according to Mr Holstein’s account of the incident. The student said he had not spoken to police about the incident, and nor did he plan to. “My PhD is mainly about the republicans,” he said. “If I contact the police, you know, it is the end of my work, my PhD. “Nobody would speak to me again, so I decided not to do it.” Asked if he was frightened by what he saw, the student said: “At the beginning, yes, because it was the first time I saw a gun. “But in the end I was more stressed than frightened. “When I understand it was OK in a way, that I could be safe and just taking a picture, I was more stressed.” He accepted that the terrorists may have been using him as a channel to send a message to the outside world. I think they knew I was a Frenchman,” the PhD student said. “I’m not 100% sure but I suppose they were expecting that I contact the media to make coverage, it was accepted I’d make publicity. “I’m French, I’m not part of the community, so they saw me as an external person.”
Last night, Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton said the emergence of the terrorist image was “disturbing”. “It’s clearly very sinister,” the MLA told the Belfast Telegraph. “We know over the weekend, and with the burning of images of the Queen and poppy wreaths, it has caused a lot of upset and hurt right across the community. “And the appearance of what appears to be a gunman will no doubt strike fear into that particular community.” He said the incident had echoes of the scenes leading up to the murder in the city of journalist Lyra McKee a year ago. “It’s worrying, given the fact a young journalist lost their life on the city’s streets due to a gunman.
That image represents a huge step backwards in terms of community relations and the development of the peaceful society that we all want.” Mr Middleton called on those involved to “get off the backs” of the community because “it’s clear that they are not wanted”, and said that anyone with any information on the gunman should contact the PSNI/RUC as soon as possible. This year Derry bonfires have come in for heavy criticism from senior Sinn Féin figures, with deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill describing them as “displays of hate”. The PSNI/RUC said last night they had no reports of the Bogside gunman incident.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and David Young for the original story