A banner bearing the insignia of the British Parachute Regiment has been placed on a bonfire in the Bogside which will be lit later this evening.

The banner proclaiming 'Free Derry Says No To State Terrorism' has been stretched across the width of the pyre and has been joined by four Parachute Regiment flags attached to railings in front of the bonfire at Meenan Square.

Whilst there is no direct reference to Soldier F on the banner, there is a is a separate wooden placard near the bonfire on which has been sprayed 'F--k Soldier F'-a symbol of rifle scope cross hairs have also been drawn on the piece of wood. Soldier F is a former member of the Parachute Regiment facing murder and attempted murder charges in relation to Bloody Sunday.

The wearing of a Parachute Regiment emblem by members of the Clydevalley Flute Band at last weekend's Apprentice Boys (ABOD) parade in Derry caused a major political row in the following days and the incident was followed by three nights of disturbances in the Bogside.

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) have been present in the Bogside this morning and have expressed concerns that if there is a change in wind direction tonight that the fire could cause harm to spectators at tonight's and damage to a nearby set of flats at Durrow Park. It is understood NIHE will provide precautionary measures to protect the flats later this evening and that the Fire Authority will also attend the site to assess any danger points.

Hopes that tonight's bonfire would pass of safely and peacefully were yesterday expressed by the Chair of the Bonfire Working, Councillor Brian Tierney.

The SDLP representative told the Derry News: "There has been no sign of any tension in the air in terms of ant-community strife which wasn't present last year."

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