Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents in 'time warp' as violence mars Rising celebrations

Three cops injured after rocks, petrol bombs and missiles hurled during disturbances in Belfast, Londonderry, Lurgan and Crumlin

By Rebecca Black

The chairman of the Police Federation has said attacks on officers in Londonderry, Lurgan and Crumlin are the actions of desperate people locked in a time warp.

Mark Lindsay was speaking after three officers were injured in the disturbances, although they were not badly hurt.

Mr Lindsay said those who injured the officers in Lurgan and Crumlin "have nothing but hate in their hearts".

"Their behaviour is wholly unacceptable," he said. "Those throwing petrol bombs and engaging in minor street disturbances think they are advancing some cause but the reality is they have nothing but empty rhetoric and outdated slogans to offer.

"The officers who were hurt don't deserve this type of cowardly treatment. They are the same as the people they are trying to safeguard, and it is up to the entire community to stand up and say that this will no longer be tolerated.

"The dissident republicans who stir up trouble are desperate people locked in a time warp."

Tensions remain high in Lurgan and Londonderry after police came under attack from crowds throwing petrol bombs and missiles.

The railway line in Lurgan was forced to close twice yesterday after a hijacked van was placed on the line and then a burning bin.

Police also said an officer was treated in hospital after he was struck on the head with a brick as he dealt with anti-social behaviour in The Glen area of Crumlin on Sunday night.

Violence broke out in the town yesterday afternoon, shortly after a march organised by the Apprentice Boys of Derry passed off without major incident.

As officers attempted to clear a burning bin from the railway line they came under attack from large crowds gathering in the area. Officers drew their batons in angry confrontations with a crowd made up of mainly youths in the Kilwilkie estate.

Two 15-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and criminal damage.

In Derry, police also came under attack after 150 people took part in a dissident republican rally to mark the Easter Rising.

The event at the City Cemetery organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement came after similar dissident displays in recent days at Ardoyne, Coalisland and Lurgan.

Bricks and a petrol bomb were thrown at police Land Rovers.

Police also dealt with anti-social behaviour being caused by around 100 youths in Lanyon Place and Mays Meadow in Belfast at teatime yesterday.

There was a massive police presence at Ardoyne early on Monday morning while a small group of Apprentice Boys and one band made their way past the shop fronts. Only Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly and a small number of nationalist residents on the Ardoyne side observed the short parade.

A few hours later there was another huge policing operation on Donegall Street. They watched on as a small group of Apprentice Boys and a band passed St Patrick's Church on their way to their coaches heading to Lurgan where the main Easter parade took place.

DUP MLA and Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said police were aware that dissidents were desperate to carry out a murder to mark the Easter Rising.

"There are still those rebellious enough within our society to ignore an agreement that has been agreed on all sides."

UUP councillor Colin McCusker said: "Once again Lurgan's name has been dragged through the mud by republican thugs."

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