Police attacked with petrol bombs at illegal dissident republican Easter parade in Derry
Police have been pelted with petrol bombs and projectiles at an illegal dissident republican march in Derry.
The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee began their march through the Creggan estate to the city’s cemetery at 2pm on Easter Monday.
The parade was not listed with the Parades Commission. Ahead of the march police landrovers in the Creggan area were pelted with petrol bombs and bottles as hundreds gathered for the parade.
Police were again attacked as the parade entered Derry City Cemetery. There are not thought to have been any injuries.
Sporadic trouble continued for around two hours on Monday.
Police have confirmed around seven petrol bombs were thrown at police as well as items of masonry.
Disgraceful that our @PoliceServiceNI officers were attacked with petrol bombs and other missiles today. No room for this behaviour in our community and it must be roundly condemned. https://t.co/fssA8Tc03u— NI Policing Board (@NIPolicingBoard) April 2, 2018
There was some damage to police vehicles but there are no reports of any injuries and no arrests have made at this time.
Chief Inspector Ivor Morton said: “In relation to today’s event in Derry/Londonderry we attempted to engage with the organisers of the parade over a period of time in a bid to facilitate their event within the law.
"The organisers declined to enter into any discussions with police on this matter.
"The organisers also stated in the run-up to today’s event they were informed by police the parade would be stopped and would not be allowed to go ahead.
"This was patently untrue and can only be viewed as an attempt by those behind the parade as a bid to raise tensions in the area.
"It is, therefore, regrettable that in raising those tensions a small number of people saw fit to attack police officers with petrol bombs in what was clearly a premeditated attack.
"I want to be clear that for anyone who engaged in actions that were unlawful or detrimental to community safety, there will be consequences through the criminal justice system.
"Police will review all video footage collected today and will robustly pursue all possible enquiries to identify those involved and bring them before the courts."
Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell hit out at those responsible for the disturbance.
He said: "Everyone has the right to remember their dead with dignity and respect.
“However, the petrol bomb and stone attacks on the PSNI in Creggan today by masked individuals close to a commemoration were dangerous and disgraceful.
“Thankfully no one has been seriously injured but the police must now bring those responsible before the courts.
“Incidents like these, apart from the risk to life and limb, are in no one’s interests.
DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton called on the PSNI to investigate the parade.
"This was an unregistered parade and today the scenes coming from the Creggan area have been totally disgraceful," he said.
"People in paramilitary style uniform is wrong and the continued glorification of terrorism is abhorrent.
"Nobody has a desire to see the violence on display today, except for barbaric thugs intent on endangering life and property. The PSNI were there to protect the community - people who live in fear at displays and parades such as this one today.
"The Police have to be praised for the work they continue to do this weekend, as they uphold the law and thoroughly deal with illegal parades and displays of such a disturbing nature.
"Among those that were involved in hurling petrol bombs were young people.
"I hope the actions of all involved are investigated and those responsible feel the full weight of the law. The over-riding desire of many is to see events pass off peacefully and without any paramilitary trappings, unfortunately a minority in our communities are intent on creating destruction and fear.
"Again the demands of respect and equality from republicans ring hallow when there is little shown to those who uphold the law and work to keep communities safe. Those involved should not believe they are above the law."
UUP MLA Doug Beattie said: “The footage of children - some as young as 12 - pelting the PSNI with petrol bombs is a depressing reflection of our past and a possible insight to our future.
"It is thoroughly depressing watching these children riot in the Creggan estate in Londonderry at the behest of so-called dissident republicans, who are seeking to follow the road map laid down by Sinn Fein, who weren’t averse to orchestrating the odd riot in the past.
“It may be that the manufactured political vacuum we find ourselves in is leaving some people feeling disenfranchised and easy pickings for the men of violence, but in reality, politics has little attraction for the type of people who are wedded to violence, fear and the hold that brings over communities which are subjugated and forced to live in misery as a result."
Mark Lindsay, chairperson of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland called the attacks on police officers "appalling and disgraceful."
He added: “Let me make something clear: anyone who throws petrol bombs at Police vehicles or individual Officers is out to cause maximum physical harm.
“They want to maim or kill Officers. That’s the stark reality of their actions.
“They only know how to wreck and undermine. They are bankrupt thugs with nothing but misery to offer a community. They cling desperately to a past, unwilling to recognise the gains that have been made and unwilling to imagine a better future for the entire community.
“There was orchestration behind this unrest with young people being manipulated by older and sinister ‘puppet-masters’. They are brainwashing these youths into believing that violence is the only way forward and, of course, it isn’t.
“I know our Officers will deal with this violence with professionalism. Some dissidents set out to cause mayhem during an illegal parade. They will not succeed.
“Officers will not be bullied or deflected in the job they have to do. The rioters who wanted to burn Officers alive in their vehicles have to be made amenable for their cowardly actions. To do that, I would appeal to the local community who may know who these people are to help us rid the community of this menace.”