Irish Woman Faces Potential Hate Crime Prosecution for Banner Attacking Democratic Unionist Party

According to The Guardian, Ellie Evans, 24, was contacted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland after she carried a banner attacking an Irish political party for its opposition to gay marriage.

During Belfast’s Pride Parade in August, Evans carried a banner reading “Fuck the DUP.” The Democratic Unionist Party holds the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.

According to The Guardian,

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from DUP politician Jim Wells, who told the Guardian that the slogan constituted “incitement to hatred and potential public disorder”.

Evans, originally from Essex, confirmed that two PSNI detectives questioned her under caution on Monday. She said that in a later phone call she was told that the PPS would decide whether she should be prosecuted for a hate crime or a breach of public order.

. . .

Wells, who avoids swearing, said: “If someone at an Orange Order march held up a banner stating, ‘eff Sinn Féin’ or if someone from a religious group held up a placard with the slogan, ‘eff LGBT’ at parade that would be a clear breach of the Parades Commission’s rules barring offensive slogans.

“This ‘eff The DUP’ placard is exactly the same,” he went on. “I don’t mind if they hold up banners criticising the DUP, saying we are idiots or whatever. But to use a swearword is tantamount to an incitement to hatred and potential public disorder.

“You may not agree with the DUP but we represent 300,000 people and are the largest political party in this province. They deserve some respect free from offence. As a unionist I would find it unacceptable and offensive if anyone used that same slogan, that same swearword against any of the nationalist parties here.”