Police take “robust” action against Londonderry rioters

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The PSNI has taken “robust” action against nationalist rioters in Londonderry tonight, an MP says.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell was speaking to the News Letter tonight shortly after arriving back in the city.

He said there has been rioting in Londonderry for four nights since the death of Margaret Thatcher earlier this week.

“Police appear to be responding tonight with a robust response,” he said. “Police have been attacked with petrol bombs every night since the death of Margaret Thatcher but tonight I am told they are taking a heavier response tonight.

“Obviously these sort of attacks do require a robust police response.

On the night of her death there was an orgy of attacks and criminal damage against property and police officers.”

The leading DUP member said he expects trouble to escalate to coincide with the Former Prime Minister’s funeral on Wednesday.

“My belief is that further events are planned to take place during the funeral,” he said. “I think a parade and other so-called festivities are being planned in the Bogside.”

DUP Alderman Gary Middleton said he has witnessed attacks on police and Protestant residential areas for four nights.

“What I have seen over the first three nights was a gang of about 20 republicans throwing petrol bombs, bricks and stones at the interface. But thankfully there has been no retaliation so far.”

He said a gang of up to five republicans have also been attacking police on the walls of the city with petrol bombs in recent nights.

“I am not aware of anyone having come out publicly to condemns this violence even though it has been going on night after night this week.

“Around 150 people took part in a parade through the Bogside on the day of Baroness Thatcher’s death and then they all got into cars and drove into the city centre where they drover around the Diamond area beeping their horns. A republican band also formed up to play at the ‘Free Derry corner’,” he added.

“Following the disgraceful scenes in the Bogside this evening, we took a walk around the walls which were covered with bricks and glass from the Verbal Arts centre to the memorial hall. The same republicans have painted the walls with vile graffiti, carried out an illegal parade in the Bogside and proceeded with an entourage of cars up around the diamond waving dissident republican flags and tricolours. This is part of an ongoing attempt to intimidate residents of the Fountain and Protestants West Bank of the city. All of this to ‘celebrate’ a death of another human being. Absolutely disgusting.”

Londonderry Sinn Fein council Paul Fleming told the News Letter: “I am sure all nationalist councillors would call for these attacks on the Fountain estate to stop. The are completely unacceptable.”

The PSNI were not available for comment tonight.