‘Moronic’ throwing of petrol bombs at police in Derry condemned

PSNI says children assaulted officers and attacked property with petrol bombs

PSNI said children assaulted officers and attacked property with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles in Derry last night. Photograph: Derry

PSNI said children assaulted officers and attacked property with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles in Derry last night. Photograph: Derry

 

More than 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police in Derry on Saturday night after they came under attack while responding to disorder at an interface area in the city.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said they were dealing with “ongoing public disorder” in the Lecky Road area of the Bogside.

“Children are assaulting police officers and attacking property with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles,” the PSNI said on social media on Saturday night. “The area is best avoided as the throwing is indiscriminate.”

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said on Sunday that the disorder — in the vicinity of the Fountain estate interface and Nailor’s Row — was “an attack on our whole community”.

“Shorrly before 10pm three petrol bombs were thrown into the Fountain, with one of these igniting and two seized intact,” said Supt McCalmont. “Police who were deployed to prevent further disroder were subsequently attacked by persons who threw over 30 petrol bombs and missiles at our officers.

“Bricks and bottles were also thrown at property in the area causing mindless damage and putting innocent people at risk. Fortunately no injuries were sustained, but this violent behavour simply damages our city and cannot be tolerated,” he said.

The Fountain is a predominantly unionist area which sits adjacent to the nationalist Bogside and is separated from Bishop Street by a peace wall. Both areas have in the past experienced sectarian attacks and anti-social behaviour, particularly in the summer months.

In recent weeks a number of petrol bombs have been thrown into the Fountain area. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA Gary Middleton said the petrol bombs deliberately targeted the Fountain area, the Memorial Hall belonging to loyal order the Apprentice Boys, and the PSNI.

“We must all stand against these sectarian attacks,” said Mr Middleton. “The PSNI must do all they can to protect the residents of the Fountain. All communities must unite against these sectarian thugs.”

Mr Middleton was to meet with residents and the PSNI on Sunday. Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan also condemned the attacks. “Those responsible are more than likely the same people who terrorise residents of Meenan Park [in the Bogside] on a nightly basis,” said Ms Mullan.

“Wrecking and terrorising your own community or a neighbouring community is wrong,” she said.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said throwing petrol bombs was “moronic” behaviour. “This puts lives at risk and those responsible should not be on our streets”.