Around seven petrol bombs and missiles were thrown at police in Northern Ireland on Monday as men in paramilitary uniforms led an illegal Easter Rising march.
An illegal dissident republican march in Derry has been condemned after petrol bombs and missiles were thrown at the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Led by men in paramilitary uniform, the Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee began their Easter Rising commemorative march on Easter Monday walking from the Creggan estate to the city’s cemetery, as hundreds gathered for the illegal parade.
Before the march began, police land rovers were pelted with petrol bombs and missiles and police were once again attacked as the parade entered the cemetery.
Men in paramilitary uniforms are leading today’s republican march in Derry pic.twitter.com/rt1Q1zTy9F— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) April 2, 2018
The trouble lasted for around two hours but no injuries have been reported. Some damage was made to police vehicles.
“In relation to today’s event in Derry/Londonderry we attempted to engage with the organizers of the parade over a period of time in a bid to facilitate their event within the law,” Chief Inspector Ivor Morton told the Belfast Telegraph.
"The organizers declined to enter into any discussions with police on this matter.
"The organizers also stated in the run-up to today’s event they were informed by police the parade would be stopped and would not be allowed to go ahead.
"This was patently untrue and can only be viewed as an attempt by those behind the parade as a bid to raise tensions in the area.
These were the scenes in the Creggan area of Derry today as police were pelted with petrol bombs as an un-notified Easter Commemoration parade took place - via @BelTel - https://t.co/KthPt3edeW pic.twitter.com/XzWfSxxiwt— Kevin Scott (@Kscott_94) April 2, 2018
"It is, therefore, regrettable that in raising those tensions a small number of people saw fit to attack police officers with petrol bombs in what was clearly a premeditated attack.
"I want to be clear that for anyone who engaged in actions that were unlawful or detrimental to community safety, there will be consequences through the criminal justice system.
"Police will review all video footage collected today and will robustly pursue all possible inquiries to identify those involved and bring them before the courts."
Disgusting behaviour by those intent on violence today. Our @PoliceServiceNI officers are there to protect society in contrast to those endangering life with petrol bombs. #weareyou pic.twitter.com/TfCOSjjYkR— PFNI (@PoliceFedforNI) April 2, 2018
Local politicians have also condemned the illegal parade with Sinn Féin councilor Kevin Campbell starting: "Everyone has the right to remember their dead with dignity and respect.
“However, the petrol bomb and stone attacks on the PSNI in Creggan today by masked individuals close to a commemoration were dangerous and disgraceful.”
"This was an unregistered parade and today the scenes coming from the Creggan area have been totally disgraceful," said DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) Foyle MLA Gary Middleton.
"People in paramilitary style uniform is wrong and the continued glorification of terrorism is abhorrent.
"Nobody has a desire to see the violence on display today, except for barbaric thugs intent on endangering life and property. The PSNI were there to protect the community - people who live in fear at displays and parades such as this one today.”
UUP (Ulster Unionist Party) MLA Doug Beattie placed some of the blame on the lack of government in Stormont and the current political uncertainty in Northern Ireland caused by the breakdown of talks and the uncertainty of Brexit talks.
“It may be that the manufactured political vacuum we find ourselves in is leaving some people feeling disenfranchised and easy pickings for the men of violence,” he said, “but in reality, politics has little attraction for the type of people who are wedded to violence, fear and the hold that brings over communities which are subjugated and forced to live in misery as a result."
Everyone has a right to remember their dead in a respectful & dignified way. Scenes from Derry today are very disturbing. Masked individuals, causing disturbance, youths throwing petrol bombs etc is far from dignified. Those responsible should be brought before the law.— michelle oneill (@moneillsf) April 2, 2018
Mark Lindsay, chairperson of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland also referenced manipulation of youth in his response to the violence, claiming, “there was orchestration behind this unrest with young people being manipulated by older and sinister ‘puppet-masters’. They are brainwashing these youths into believing that violence is the only way forward and, of course, it isn’t.
“I know our Officers will deal with this violence with professionalism. Some dissidents set out to cause mayhem during an illegal parade. They will not succeed.
“Officers will not be bullied or deflected in the job they have to do. The rioters who wanted to burn Officers alive in their vehicles have to be made amenable for their cowardly actions. To do that, I would appeal to the local community who may know who these people are to help us rid the community of this menace.”