Evidence of petrol bombs being prepared by young people prior unauthorised parade, says PSNI

Youths were seen preparing petrol bombs ahead of an “un-notified” march on Easter Monday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said.

Apr 2, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Min Jing / Shutterstock.com

It believes these would have been used “ to attack police had the opportunity arose”.

The PSNI said it had received notice on Saturday (March 30) in relation “only to an event” in the City Cemetery in the Creggan area on Monday afternoon.

This did not include notification of a parade from Central Drive to the City Cemetery it added.

Derry City and Strabane Area Commander Chief Superintendent Gillian Kearney said: “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.

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

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

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

Chief Supt Kearney said a local person’s van was set on fire “for no reason”, next to a local community hall on Central Drive in Creggan, while a number of petrol bombs were also thrown in the area.

The fire was dealt with by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and those involved throwing the petrol bombs were dispersed, she said.

Chief Supt Kearney said an investigation has commenced into what occurred as well as the other incidents “which serve only to damage the local community”.

“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 said.

Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton had previously said that a significant policing operation would be in place across Northern Ireland over the Easter weekend, with nearly 80 parades and commemorative events planned.

He stressed that a “key role of policing is to facilitate public processions but it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they parade safely and within the law”.

He had appealed to anyone attending Easter commemorations to “mark it in a lawful, respectful and dignified manner”.

“What we saw unfold in Creggan on Easter Monday, in particular the attacks on journalists, was extremely disappointing and completely unnecessary. We are supporting those affected and have commenced an investigation with a view to bringing those responsible to justice,” he said.

“What we saw yesterday was an unrepresentative, small minority who remain intent on causing violence and disorder and who will exploit local young people in the process.

“Moving forward, we’ll continue to focus on delivering policing with the community in Creggan.

“We welcome the broad condemnation of these events, and we are grateful for the wide support we’ve had from across the community since yesterday.”

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