A photo of a Loyalist flute band member wearing Ku Klux Klan robes at a Halloween party has emerged online.
The photo was taken at the Lanarkshire Loyalist Flute Band (LLFB)’s “Culture Day” on Saturday night, at the South Lanarkshire Council’s High Blantyre Hall. The council say they will continue to allow the group to rent the hall.
The council’s site claims the organization aims to “tackle hate crime so that all of our residents can live without threats, verbal or physical harassment or prejudice.”
It is believed the photo was posted on the Facebook page of a woman called Rachel Armstrong. The unidentified man is wearing #white robes and a pointed hood complete with the KKK’s symbol on the chest. The photo was shared on the LLFBs page. It was removed from both accounts shortly afterwards.
Loyalist groups in Belfast are known for their association with groups such as the KKK.
Colin Lee, Chief Executive of the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations Scotland (CEMVO) told the Daily Record, “It would seem to me to have racist undertones. Why of all costumes would this person choose to wear a KKK outfit, especially when it’s not obviously associated with Halloween?
“The bottom line is that I do not think that wearing such outfits is appropriate in this day and age, whatever their motivations, as many Black people in America were murdered by the KKK.”
Jatin Haria, Executive Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights told the Deadline News “This is not just about some Halloween costume – the Ku Klux Klan outfit remains an extremely fearful symbol for many black minority ethnic people who are still subject to racial discrimination and violence.
“Wearing this…shows a shocking level of ignorance.”
Edward Hyde, Grand secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said, “What I have seen gives us great concern. It’s unacceptable in any form – the Orange Order would distance itself from anything of that sort.
“If that person had been identifiable and a member of the Orange Order they would be facing disciplinary action from the Orange Lodge – we would take action.”
Hyde added that flute bands were autonomous and the order could not take any direct action.
He added, “We would distance ourselves from anyone pertaining to be of that group – I don’t even care what it’s supposed to mean to them.
“I can’t stress enough how disturbed I am by that – it’s totally immoral.”
No-one from the LLFB or the South Lanarkshire Council were available for comment.