Police and firefighters come under attack in Londonderry

Police at the scene of the disorder on Madam's Bank Road. Pic: Sandra Duffy
Police at the scene of the disorder on Madam's Bank Road. Pic: Sandra Duffy
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Police and firefighters in Londonderry came under attack by youths throwing stones, fireworks and bottles at the weekend.

Police said they dealt with a number of incidents involving anti-social behaviour in the Madam’s Bank Road area of the city.

The first disorder was reported at around 10:20pm on Saturday when a number of barriers were pulled out onto Madam’s Bank Road, near Shantallow.

While officers were in the process of moving the barriers, fireworks and stones were thrown at them from the ‘Houston Field’ area.

Police said they also attended Madam’s Bank tunnel where it was discovered that bins had been set on fire.

The public disorder flared again last night shortly before 11pm as a group of youths again used barriers to block Madam’s Bank Road, this time setting one of the barriers on fire.

According to the PSNI there was also a report of youths setting fire to traffic lights close to the Earhart area.

Firefighters from Northland Fire Station who were called to deal with the burning barricade were forced to withdraw after coming under attack by youths throwing stones.

Police officers who were in attendance were also targeted with bottles and bricks. A petrol bomb was also thrown, but it failed to ignite.

There were no reports of any injuries being sustained, according to the PSNI.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Hunter said: “This weekend we have again seen youths take to the streets of Londonderry causing damage and misery to the local community and businesses.
“I cannot understand what these youths hope to achieve. No-one wants this, everyone should be in a position to go about their daily lives and come into the city without worrying about this mindless criminal behaviour It has to stop.”

He continued: “It is critical that the young people who choose to behave in this way understand their behaviour is unacceptable. Everyone deserves to live in peace and to enjoy their homes and public spaces. Stop and think about the harm and damage you’re inflicting on the community when you choose to be a part of this type of anti-social behaviour.

“Not only are you putting yourself in danger by becoming involved in activity such as this, you will also face consequences that can be far reaching and can seriously impact on your future opportunities for work, travel and being accepted for university. You are in effect damaging your own future.

“To parents and guardians, please help prevent young people from becoming involved, or caught up in these activities.

“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this anti-social behaviour or anyone who has information that could assist us with our enquiries to contact police at Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101, quoting references CCS 1352 27/04/19 and CCS 1290 28/04/19. It means we can respond appropriately. If it is an emergency, call 999.”

A spokesperson for the NIFRS said one crew from Northland Fire Station was called to Madam’s Bank Road, Shantallow last night.

“Firefighters were dealing with a barricade across a road on fire when they came under attack from youths throwing stone and bottles. They withdrew from the area. No injuries to firefighters or damage to the fire appliance. Deliberate ignition. The incident was dealt with at 11.13pm,” she said.

Condemning the actions of those responsible for the disorder, Sinn Fein representative Sandra Duffy posted on Facebook: "This is an absolute disgrace and an attack on our community and must stop."

Insisting that the latest violence was not linked to recent trouble in nearby Creggan during which journalist Lyra McKee was murdered by the New IRA, she said: “The trouble is not connected to anything that happened in Creggan over recent weeks. This is a small pocket of young people who are intent on causing damage and disruption to the community. They have been moved on from other areas over the last two weeks.”

She said she is due to meet with police tomorrow to discuss how the issue can be tackled before the summer months.