Investigation after petrol bombs thrown and van torched during Easter Monday parade

Investigation after petrol bombs thrown and van torched during Easter Monday parade

AN investigation has been launched after a parade in Co. Derry erupted into violence and disorder yesterday afternoon.

The march, organised by the Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee, started in the Central Drive area of Creggan before making its way to the City Cemetery.

However, the PSNI claim the organisers did not notify the Parades Commission of this element of their event, as is required under Northern Irish law, and refused to comply with multiple warnings to cancel the event.

“Police received a [parade notification form] on Saturday, March 30 in relation only to an event in the City Cemetery in Creggan on April 1,” Derry City & Strabane Area Commander Chief Superintendent Gillian Kearney said.

“This did not include notification of a parade from Central Drive to the City Cemetery in Creggan [that] afternoon.”

The parade took place along Central Drive in Creggan

She explained: “Police engaged with the event organiser and, on the day, issued several warnings from a drone to make participants aware they would be taking part in an un-notified parade on Central Drive.

“Despite several warnings, participants proceeded along Central Drive and into the City Cemetery.

“Sadly, we saw evidence of petrol bombs being prepared by young people prior to the parade.

“These youths were also involved in the parade along Central Drive.”

Chf Supt Kearney said the PSNI believed those bombs would have been used to attack police officers who were policing the march.

“It is our assessment these would have been used to attack police had the opportunity arose,” she said.

“It’s incredibly sad, and really disheartening to see young people, including children, involved in this,” she added.

“Using young people in this way, risking their safety and encouraging them to engage in criminality is reprehensible.”

Derry City & Strabane Area Commander Chief Superintendent Gillian Kearney has condemned the violence

During the disorder a van was set on fire next to a community hall on Central Drive in Creggan.

A “number of petrol bombs were also thrown in the area” the PSNI confirm, with reports claiming some of these were directed a members of the media who were reporting on the event.

“[This] parade was un-notified and, therefore, an investigation, has commenced into what occurred as well as the other incidents which serve only to damage the local community,” Chf Supt Kearney added.

“Footage obtained from our evidence gathering operation will be reviewed as part of an investigation into a breach of the Public Processions Act and offences Under the Terrorism Act 2000,” she added.

The violence seen in the streets of Derry has been criticised by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

“This is the last thing that our community wants or needs,” he said.

“The kids being whipped up into throwing petrol bombs at journalists and the police are putting their own lives and futures at risk as well as the safety of others.”

“Those responsible for this only want to drag us back,” he added.

“They have nothing to offer the people of this city and they need to understand that we all want a better future.

“The people of Derry want to live in peace with their neighbours. We won’t have that peace threatened by anyone, let alone cowards that send kids out to throw petrol bombs.”