PSNI attacked with petrol bombs and other missiles in Derry
Area near Memorial Hall was busy on Saturday night following parade in the city
PSNI superintendent Gordon McCalmont said police had responded to a report of two petrol bombs being thrown over the city walls near the Memorial Hall. File photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were attacked with petrol bombs in Derry on Saturday night.
It happened near the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall in the city centre at about 10.45pm.
PSNI superintendent Gordon McCalmont said police had responded to a report of two petrol bombs being thrown over the city walls near the Memorial Hall.
“Police who deployed to the area to prevent further disorder were subsequently attacked by persons who threw 15-20 petrol bombs and other missiles in the area of Fahan Street,” said Supt McCalmont.
“A number of pallets were also placed on the street and set on fire. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained by officers, but this violent behaviour cannot be tolerated,” he said.
“Last night the Memorial Hall was busy with people socialising after the parade in the city and, while no one was injured, this could have been much different had it not been for the actions of police.”
A police investigation is now under way.
On Saturday, thousands of members of the Apprentice Boys – a loyal order similar to the Orange Order – marched through the centre of Derry for their annual parade which commemorates the relief of Derry and the ending of the siege of 1689.
A separate police investigation has been launched into the “behaviour and symbols displayed by one band,” the PSNI said.
Members of the Clyde Valley Flute Band from Larne, Co Antrim – who were displaying the emblem of the British army’s Parachute Regiment on the sleeve of their uniforms – were escorted on the parade by PSNI officers.
DUP MP for East Derry Gregory Campbell said the band’s bus was later stopped outside Derry and band members were asked to provide their names and addresses to police.
The emblem of the Parachute Regiment is regarded as controversial by nationalists because of the regiment’s role in Bloody Sunday. In recent months banners declaring support for Soldier F – the former member of the Parachute Regiment who is facing charges of murder and attempted murder on Bloody Sunday – have been displayed in many parts of Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin councillor Christopher Jackson said it was “unacceptable that a flute band bearing symbols relating to Soldier F were allowed to march” in the parade, and that his party intended to raise the issue with the Parades Commission and the police.
“The PSNI and the organisers must explain why, after giving an assurance that no provocative symbols would not be tolerated, this band were allowed to march on the parade.
“This is a deliberate attempt to stir up tension and to hurt the families of the Bloody Sunday victims,” he said.
The DUP’s East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson and MLAs David Hilditch and Gordon Lyons said the police’s actions towards the band caused “a huge amount of anger and ill will towards the PSNI. The heavy handedness of the police was completely unwarranted and unjustified and there are many questions that the police will have to answer.”
He said: “We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the chief constable and will put these questions to him directly.”