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17 Aug 2022

Eastwood: Derry will not support those behind attacks on police

Foyle MP and SDLP leader condemns the thugs responsible for the appalling scenes at the City Cemetery following a Republican parade

Colum Eastwood

Foyle MP and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood: "We won't have that peace threatened by anyone, let alone cowards that send kids out to throw petrol bombs."

SDLP Leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood has said that those who orchestrated attacks on the police from the City Cemetery yesterday will find no support among the people of Derry.

The disturbances followed a parade that had been organised by the National Republican Commemoration Committee, which organises events on behalf of the anti-Good Friday Agreement Republicans, Saoradh.

Six men aged, 29, 38, 40, 45, 50 and 54 years old, were arrested under the Terrorism Act. 

A seventh man, aged 40 years old, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and he has been charged to appear at Derry Magistrates Court on May 11. 

The Police, who themselves were attacked with petrol bombs being thrown at them, seized a number of vehicles, suspected terrorist uniforms and petrol bombs.

Mr Eastwood said that young people were being manipulated in what was clearly a premeditated and organised attempt to create a violent standoff following an Easter parade.

Coming on the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder, the SDLP Leader said that those responsible have nothing to offer and will not be allowed to drag Derry backwards.

He said: “Yesterday was the third anniversary of the murder of Lyra McKee on the streets of our city. A young journalist who was trying to make a life for herself in Derry and who had so much to give to our community.

“Lyra’s memory continues to galvanise our resolve against the men of violence who prey on bigotry and hate. Derry stands with Lyra’s family, with Sara and with everyone who knew her.

“The scenes from the city cemetery yesterday are absolutely and totally wrong. Young people in our city are being manipulated into carrying out violent attacks against police officers by people who are intent on dragging this city and its people backwards. We won't let them win.

“Those responsible for orchestrating a very clearly pre-arranged attack on police wanted to create a violent standoff.

“They want to whip up division, fear and resentment because it’s the only way they can gain a foothold in our community.

“They need to understand that those days are long gone and they aren’t coming back. The people of Derry want to live in peace with their neighbours.

“We won't have that peace threatened by anyone, let alone cowards that send kids out to throw petrol bombs.”

The PSNI confirmed that no members of the public and police officers were injured during the disturbances.

Derry & Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson said: “Police were in attendance at a notified parade in the city. On the basis of initial observations, participants in the parade were assessed as having potentially committed criminal offences.

“Police monitored the event closely and, at what was considered to be an appropriate point, took action to secure evidence and make arrests. Whilst doing so, police officers came under attack from petrol bombs and masonry.

“Our officers showed tremendous courage and professionalism in what was still clearly a dangerous situation.

“Fortunately, none of our officers, or members of the public were injured as a result of this reckless and criminal behaviour.

“Our enquiries will continue over the coming days and weeks to bring offenders to justice.”

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