By Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent Published Tuesday 1 July 2014 on theguardian.com,
A Ku Klux Klan flag has been placed in an area of Belfast at the centre of a recent surge in racist attacks in the city.
East Belfast MP Naomi Long has condemned those who put up the symbol of the KKK movement, accusing them of heightening racist tensions in her constituency.
There has been a spike in racist attacks in Belfast, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirming its officers are investigating up to three racist incidents every day. A large proportion of racist attacks and intimidation is taking place in the loyalist east.
The Alliance party MP said the appearance of a KKK flag off Island Street in the east of the city gives “an even more sinister edge” to xenophobic attacks in the area.
Long said: “Yet again we see those who wish to bully anyone different from them use flags and emblems to assert dominance and control over a community. To put up these flags in broad daylight shows just how brazen the culprits are.
“To use flags hailing a hate group such as the KKK is sickening and lends a further menacing element to recent events. It is essential that every right-thinking person unites against those who engage in racist, bigoted or otherwise intolerant behaviour and does so with consistency.