POLITICIANS Colum Eastwood and Doug Beattie have condemned images showing a man in Derry wearing a T-shirt in support of Soldier F while the city hosted an Apprentice Boys parade.
SDLP leader Eastwood described the shirt as 'offensive', while UUP leader Beattie branded it 'spiteful'.
Former British Army paratrooper Soldier F is charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder during Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.
Images of the man wearing the T-shirt circulated online on Saturday following the Apprentice Boys of Derry's annual Lundy parade in the city to mark the events that led to the 17th century siege of Derry.
The images showed the man wearing a shirt with the slogan, 'Stand with Soldier F'.
Underneath were the words, ‘No apologies, no surrender’.
The people of Derry have led the way in accommodating the Apprentice Boys parades. It’s not been easy and has meant all sides have had to stretch themselves. This nonsense is deliberately offensive and has no place in our city. pic.twitter.com/738rsa84Ek
— Colum Eastwood 🇺🇦 (@columeastwood) December 3, 2022
Sharing the image on Twitter, Foyle MP Eastwood said: "The people of Derry have led the way in accommodating the Apprentice Boys parades.
"It's not been easy and has meant all sides have had to stretch themselves.
"This nonsense is deliberately offensive and has no place in our city."
There are some people who go out of their way to be hurtful and spiteful. There is simply no need to this. https://t.co/HUTssstIGK
— Doug Beattie (@BeattieDoug) December 4, 2022
Commenting on the issue, Upper Bann MLA and former British soldier Beattie said: "There are some people who go out of their way to be hurtful and spiteful.
"There is simply no need to this."
The annual parade organised by the Apprentice Boys sees bands from branches around the world gather to celebrate the 'shutting of the gates' by 13 apprentices against Jacobite forces in December 1688, which preceded the siege of Derry four months later.
He is charged with the murders of James Wray, 22, and William McKinney, 28, on January 30, 1972 — Bloody Sunday.
The men were two of 13 civilians shot dead during a civil rights march in Derry, while the death of a 14th man several months later was attributed to the gunshot injuries he sustained that day.
Soldier F is also facing five charges of attempted murder in relation to Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon, Patrick O'Donnell and a fifth unknown person.