‘New IRA’ be­hind Derry ri­ots: PSNI

Mary Lou joins protest against ‘dis­si­dent in­flu­ence’

Irish Daily Mail - - News - news@dai­ly­mail.ie By Aoife Moore and David Young

THE North’s po­lice chief has ac­cused the so-called ‘New IRA’ of be­ing the pri­mary dis­si­dent re­pub­li­can group or­ches­trat­ing ri­ot­ing and at­tacks on his of­fi­cers in Derry over the Twelfth of July march­ing sea­son.

Ge­orge Hamil­ton said mem­bers of other vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist dis­si­dent or­gan­i­sa­tions were also in­volved in fo­ment­ing six suc­ces­sive nights of vi­o­lence in the Bog­side.

In the lat­est bout of un­rest, two ex­plo­sive de­vices were hurled at of­fi­cers on Thurs­day night, with 74 petrol bombs also thrown. Po­lice have said it was a ‘mir­a­cle’ no of­fi­cers were in­jured. Three men were ar­rested, one on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted mur­der. Riot po­lice fired four ba­ton rounds dur­ing the dis­tur­bances in the re­pub­li­can neigh­bour­hood.

Many of those en­gag­ing in the vi­o­lence are youths, some not even in their teens. Hun­dreds of peo­ple from across Derry have turned out at a rally to protest against the six nights of vi­o­lence in the Bog­side

Res­i­dents, clergy mem­bers in­clud­ing the Bishop of Derry Donal McKe­own, and politi­cians from across the di­vide turned out at Butcher Gate, the spot where po­lice Land Rovers were at­tacked with petrol bombs on Thurs­day night.

The Mayor of Derry John Boyle, SDLP leader Colm East­wood, civil rights ac­tivist Ea­mon McCann and Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDon­ald were all in at­ten­dance to stand in de­fi­ance of what they say is dis­si­dent re­pub­li­can in­flu­ence ex­ploit­ing vul­ner­a­ble teenagers. Fi­achra McGuin­ness, son of the late for­mer deputy first min­is­ter Martin, was also in at­ten­dance.

Af­ter be­ing briefed by lo­cal com­man­ders in Derry, Mr Hamil­ton warned that if the vi­o­lence con­tin­ued it was ‘only a mat­ter of time’ be­fore some­one was killed. ‘We be­lieve vi­o­lent dis­si­dent re­pub­li­can groups are be­hind this. They will use what­ever ex­cuse they can to bring about un­rest and to have young peo­ple in­volve them­selves in vi­o­lence against the po­lice,’ Mr Hamil­ton said.

‘We be­lieve there are mem­bers of a va­ri­ety of dis­si­dent group­ings in this dis­or­der – the so­called New IRA is prob­a­bly the pri­mary group­ing be­hind this dis­or­der and be­hind these threats to po­lice and these mur­der­ous at­tacks on po­lice.’

The lat­est night of dis­or­der flared af­ter the city hosted Twelfth pa­rades. Mem­bers of the pub­lic were also tar­geted. At one point, a hooded ri­oter hurled a petrol bomb at the wind­screen of a van pass­ing through the Bog­side from point-blank range. Big groups of hooded teens lined the streets from 9pm, car­ry­ing petrol bombs be­fore start­ing a bon­fire, in an ap­par­ent bid to goad po­lice into the area.

McGuin­ness’s son at­tended protest

Un­rest: The scene on Fa­han Street in Derry yes­ter­day

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