Apprentice Boys statue vandalised
A statue of a former governor of Londonderry has been smashed by vandals, it has been revealed.
The Rev George Walker was in charge of the city in 1689. The arms, body and head on the sculpture were damaged during the overnight attack at the Apprentice Boys' memorial hall.
A copper plaque dedicated to the 13 Apprentice Boys who closed the gates during the 1689 siege was also vandalised.
Apprentice Boys' governor Jim Brownlee said: "Our association is angry and frustrated that just weeks after being able to join in celebration with the rest of the city in anticipation of UK City of Culture 2013 that a deliberate and clearly sectarian attack has been made on Protestant culture in this city."
The city has been trying to reach out to all cultures as part of its flagship role in 2013.
Mr Brownlee added: "We have worked tremendously hard to reach out across communities in our city, but there is obviously a need for some to continue to harass, demonise and violently attack our culture and people. Condemnation is not enough.
"As a minority culture in this city we can only do so much. It is time for the majority and the authorities to bring forward a plan of action to address the on-going and debilitating harassment to which our culture is subjected and our people suffer, that in truth diminishes everyone of whatever community we belong and further tarnishes the city's image."
The original statue was destroyed in an IRA bomb in 1973. Its replacement was created in 1992.
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said: "Respect for different cultures and traditions are essential as we strive to build a shared society and promote Derry as a shared city.
"This type of reckless and thoughtless behaviour sends out the wrong message especially at this time of year when the streets of our city are packed with tourists from all over the globe."