Petrol bombs thrown at cars of police and passing driver at Co Tyrone bonfire

Up to 30 people in balaclavas involved in what PSNI call ‘disgraceful scenes’

Group of up to 30 people  blocked the Ballygawley Road at Windmill Drive in Dungannon with a bonfire on Saturday evening. Photograph: Police Mid Ulster/Facebook

Group of up to 30 people blocked the Ballygawley Road at Windmill Drive in Dungannon with a bonfire on Saturday evening. Photograph: Police Mid Ulster/Facebook

 

Police and a passing motorist have come under petrol bomb attack in Co Tyrone by a group of up to 30 people wearing balaclavas.

The group had blocked the Ballygawley Road at Windmill Drive in Dungannon with a bonfire on Saturday evening.

Bonfires are lit in some republican areas of Northern Ireland during August to mark the anniversary of internment.

The mass detention without trial was introduced on August 9th, 1971.

Police said they also came under attack with masonry as they arrived to ensure the safety of passing motorists at the Dungannon bonfire.

“From approximately 10.40pm last night to around 2.30am today a number of reports were made about incidents in the vicinity of the Ballygawley Road,” a spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

“It’s believed approximately 20 to 30 people, including a number of masked individuals, were reported to be involved.

Photograph: Police Mid Ulster/Facebook
Photograph: Police Mid Ulster/Facebook

“Officers responded and attended the area where two police vehicles were damaged after a petrol bomb and other missiles were thrown.

“In one of the incidents reported, a petrol bomb was thrown at a car being driven by a member of the public.”

‘Unacceptable’

PSNI Inspector Knipe said there were “disgraceful scenes” at the bonfire and “we are thankful that no one was injured”.

“What happened last night is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” the PSNI officer said.

“We will continue to monitor the area and would warn anyone contemplating becoming involved in such criminal activity to think twice.”

In a statement on social media, the PSNI said the attack happened while it was dealing with “a variety of very serious, challenging and upsetting incidents” in Dungannon in recent days.

Posting pictures of the incident, the PSNI said residents in the area are “horrified by the incident”.

“The community wants better for their area and to live without fear,” it said.

“We appeal to those who think this behaviour is acceptable to take a look at what destroying your own community achieves. This, and putting the emergency services under even more pressure, is not the way forward.”