Loyalist ‘tensions’ spill over as police attacked again: DUP MLA appeals for calm

A DUP MLA has appealed for calm after petrol bombs were thrown at police during continued Londonderry disorder linked to “tensions in the Loyalist community”.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:19 pm
Lincoln Court estate. Google StreetView

There was disorder for a fourth straight night in the Waterside area of the city on Thursday as “frustration” linked to the PSNI’s handling of the Bobby Storey funeral spilled over.

Earlier this week, petrol bombs and masonry were thrown at police in the Tullalley area.

Graffiti has appeared in a number of mostly unionist or loyalist areas of the Waterside exprssing opposition to the Irish sea border, linking the PSNI with Sinn Fein, and threatening police.

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On Thursday night, fires were lit blocking the entrance to the Lincoln Court estate, while a digger was also set ablaze at a construction site at a supermarket on the Rossdowney road.

The PSNI said fire service officers who attended the scene also came under attack.

Petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown at the PSNI during the most recent disorder.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said the violence is “counterproductive” and appealed for calm.

“The overwhelming message that I want to get across is an appeal for calm,” he told the News Letter.

“Obviously tensions are high, and obviously there are a number of factors around which the loyalist community are feeling frustration — such as the confidence in the PSNI and the handling of some incidents. But I want to emphasise the fact that I condemn violence and attacks on the PSNI. There are other ways that people can vent their frustration, in peaceful ways and democratic ways.”

He continued: “Going out and attacking the PSNI and damaging your community is not the way.”

The Foyle MLA added: “That is counterproductive to any cause, and it could cause serious injury or even death if people continue to throw petrol bombs or other missiles at police. That does not have majority support within the Waterside community.”

Derry City & Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones said: “It is extremely disappointing that for four consecutive nights we have witnessed scenes of anti-social and criminal behaviour in the Waterside.

“These reckless attacks are not wanted by anyone and do nothing but cause harm and damage to the local community who we know just want to live in peace.

“I will again stress young people engaging in this type of criminal behaviour are risking, not only their own safety, but they also face the possibility of a criminal conviction which can have life changing consequences.

“We are appreciative of the efforts of those in helping to de-escalate the disorder this week.

“Our investigation continues, and I am appealing to parents and guardians, and all those who have influence, to help bring an end to the wanton destruction that we have seen in the Waterside this week. There is absolutely no justification for it and it has to stop.”

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