Protestant residents targeted in petrol bomb attacks

The Fountain estate in Londonderry
The Fountain estate in Londonderry

Unionist politicians have called for the Protestant residents of the Fountain estate to be protected after a spate of petrol bomb attacks.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and MLA Gary Middleton said on Saturday that over the course of 48 hours petrol bombs were thrown over the interface wall into the Fountain area as well as paint bombs thrown from the City’s walls.

Mrs Foster said: “I’ve been in the Fountain area many times and met the good people of that community. This is not the first time they have been targeted in this sectarian manner. It is to be condemned but I also want to see the police providing more assistance to the community who are effectively being besieged in their own homes. This campaign of hate must be halted.”

Gary Middleton MLA said: “These attacks on the residents of the Fountain area must end. Residents want to live in peace with their neighbours. Alongside my colleague Alderman Graham Warke, the PSNI have been contacted and urged to do all they can to ensure that the attacks are stopped and that those responsible are dealt with.

“Sadly, many of those directly involved are young children. It is clear that even more sinister individuals are encouraging this activity within republican communities. I call for leadership in those communities. These attacks must be condemned. Everyone should do all they can to help build on the positive work being carried out within communities.”

The Deputy Mayor of Londonderry & Strabane, Councillor Derek Hussey said the attacks were an attempt to “heighten sectarian tensions in Londonderry”.

Mr Hussey said: “Thursday saw petrol bombs thrown at the Fountain estate from the Bishop Street area, and the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall was also targeted. Friday saw paint bombs thrown at the Fountain during the afternoon and then on Friday night the Fountain was attacked with bottles and bricks.

“This is a deliberate attempt to heighten sectarian tensions, given that the Fountain is the last Protestant enclave on the West Bank of the Foyle and the Memorial Hall is a cultural hub in the city.

“Sadly there are still some elements in this city who will not allow a small Protestant community to live in peace. All the people of the Fountain want is the equality and respect that others talk about. These attacks must stop.”