AN UUP MLA has called for the return of a south Belfast loyalist mural which was stolen and placed on top of a republican bonfire.
Police are now investigating the theft of the mural which was designed by a young girl from Sandy Row.
South Belfast MLA Michael McGimpsey has urged those who took a community mural from the Linfield Road area of South Belfast and placed it on a bonfire in the Divis area to return it immediately.
The mural was taken from its hanging place late on Wednesday evening and placed on the internment bonfire.
In a statement, the former UUP Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said, “I was very concerned when I was informed of the theft of the mural from the Linfield Road in Sandy Row. It was designed by a local girl and its removal has caused a great deal of annoyance and hurt in the local community.
“I am calling on those who removed the mural and placed it on the bonfire to return it immediately.
“The intentions of the people involved were clearly to heighten community tensions during a period that is already sensitive.”
On Thursday, Irish News reporter and columnist Allison Morris said she was attacked at the bonfire with bottles.
She tweeted: “Just got attacked with bottles by a bunch of drunken rabble at the Divis bonfire site, tourists looking on shocked.”
She added that she was uninjured in the unprovoked attack in west Belfast.
The attack has been condemned by fellow journalists and politicians.
West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said: “The attack on a journalist from the so-called guardians of the Divis bonfire is a disgrace. They are celebrating nothing but disrespect.”
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.