Man held over Derry disturbances

 

Police in Derry have arrested a man after serious rioting broke out in the in the centre of the city early today.

Hundreds of people were involved in the disturbances during which paving slabs were torn from the ground and hurled at police and business premises broken into.

The trouble, the worst seen in the city for some time, started at around 2am when police officers were attacked by a hostile crowd.

It was 4am before officers in full riot gear finally restored order, said a Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman.

An off-licence and other retail premises around Shipquay Street and the Guildhall were broken into and stolen bottles of drink used as missiles against the police.

Fencing and paving stones were used as missiles against the police and a BBC marquee damaged and plasma screens inside destroyed.

At least two officers were injured and PSNI Inspector John Burrows said it could have easily been more.

He said: "It was extremely dangerous, the officers had to wear riot helmets, they had to have pads on, they had to use shields and armoured Land Rovers.

"It simply would have been too dangerous for police officers to confront the crowd throwing bricks and paving slabs. It was only that equipment that prevented more officers being injured.

One civilian was injured and taken to hospital for treatment and police said one male was arrested.

As police prepared to examine CCTV footage of the city centre they appealed for any witnesses to contact them.