At one point it seemed in doubt, but a council in Northern Ireland resisted a hateful backlash by going ahead with lighting civic buildings in solidarity with Israel.

Buildings across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon are lit up in the colours of the Israeli flags from 12th December for seven days as “an expression of support and sign of solidarity with Israel following the Hamas terror attacks on Saturday, 7 October”.

It comes after a motion brought forward by the DUP back in October. At the time the motion passed by a slim majority in favour of the DUP and UUP. Sinn Fein the Alliance Party and SDLP all voted against the proposal.

Marking the first night the buildings were lit up, several hundred people gathered at the Palace in Armagh to protest the decision. Crowds also gathered in Craigavon. Meanwhile, a post by the council received a multitude of hateful comments directed at the council and Israel.

Police said they are investigating after it was reported to police that three covers from the lights were removed at the protest at the Armagh Palace.

Armagh DUP councillor Scott Armstrong condemned incidents during the protest as a “disgrace”, adding: “I expect a full and rigorous investigation of this matter by the PSNI and our council chief executive.”

Mr Armstrong also said DUP councillors were “verbally abused” by protesters while attending a committee meeting at Craigavon Civic Centre.

A PSNI spokesperson said police received a report that three people were observed removing the light covers at Armagh Palace before making off in a blue vehicle, and said a flag and posters were left in the area.

“This is being investigated as a hate crime,” inspector Gary McCullough said.