Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has condemned the “sectarian and offensive” sentiments that were expressed at some 12th of July bonfires.

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party leader, told the BBC this week:  "I say to those who are putting sectarian and offensive messages out there on top of bonfires, that they really need to take a look at themselves and ask themselves what sort of a Northern Ireland do they want to live in.

"Do they want to live in a Northern Ireland where everyone is entitled to proudly celebrate their culture and their identity, or do they want to live in a split Northern Ireland?

"I know certainly the one in which I want to live in."

Arlene Foster, pictured here in February 2020 (Getty Images)

Arlene Foster, pictured here in February 2020 (Getty Images)

Foster was speaking after multiple reports of anti-Irish banners were spotted being burned at 11th night bonfires across Northern Ireland, as British-identifying citizens celebrated the Battle of the Boyne and the victory of William of Orange in 1690.

Foster and the Stormont Executive had previously asked people to celebrate the 12th at home due to coronavirus, which also forced the Orange Orange to cancel its annual 12th of July parades.

🔈 📺
Wishing everyone an enjoyable #TwelfthAtHome #TwelfthMessage #ProudOfNI @duponline pic.twitter.com/GNCnaJXDl4

— Arlene Foster #We’llMeetAgain (@DUPleader) July 12, 2020

Despite the parade cancellations and the urging from the Northern Ireland Executive for people to remain at home, bonfires were still lit across Northern Ireland between Saturday and Sunday, many of which expressed anti-Irish sentiments.

Another bonfire from the “cultural activities” on July 12th in Northern Ireland. Yes, this is the year 2020 and yes, there is a public holiday where groups openly burn Irish national flags and call for the death of all Catholics. Somehow this is acceptable. pic.twitter.com/4mZ3TZMLnV

— PuckCentral (@PuckCentral) July 13, 2020

Belfast's Ulster Protestant community watched as bonfires were lit on July 12 to commemorate the victory of William of Orange, over James II at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.

One Bonfire featured a Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) banner. pic.twitter.com/gMeU2FJF3I

— RT UK (@RTUKnews) July 12, 2019

Read more: Ireland’s new Taoiseach says Sinn Féin is “over-focused” on border poll

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