A war of words broke out today over a riot in Londonderry which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and left five police officers injured.
Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson accused police of provoking Sunday morning's disturbances in the city centre, which saw hundreds of people going on the rampage.
However, PSNI Area District Commander Richard Russell has invited the politician to come and speak with him, calling her comments "outdated rhetoric".
He said that officers identified an "aggressive element" early on in the evening and that only riot gear saved personnel from more serious injury after paving slabs were ripped from the ground and bottles and stones were hurled.
The trouble broke out as the PSNI performed a routine 'nightlife' patrol on Shipquay Street.
Between £5,000 and £10,000 worth of media equipment was also damaged after the rioters targeted a marquee in Guildhall Square which had been set up for the BBC Blast roadshow.
The violence, which erupted between 2am and 4am, also cast a shadow over the city's FiddleFest which had attracted performers and visitors from all over Ireland.
The riots came during a weekend of turmoil in Derry which also saw three houses and a community centre gutted by an arson attack.
Calling for the Police Ombudsman to investigate the disturbances, Martina Anderson claimed that young people were attacked by police during the incidents.
She claimed: "Sinn Fein has been contacted by a number of parents regarding alleged assaults on their children by the PSNI in Derry on Saturday night.
"The common belief is that a relatively minor scuffle between two individuals spiralled out of control following the intervention of a large number of PSNI personnel.
"Eyewitnesses claim that the situation could have been handled by two or three officers but instead up to 20 officers wielding batons and striking anyone within reach moved in and exacerbated the situation.
"Several young people, male and female, claim that they were assaulted by the PSNI."
She added: "I do not condone any act of wanton destruction that followed - in fact I totally condemn it - but neither will I condone excessive force by the PSNI who are supposed to maintain public order and not create volatile situations where common sense should prevail."
However, Richard Russell responded today, laying the blame for the disturbances squarely at the door of "a drunken mob".
"I would absolutely refute these claims and I cannot see any evidence to support the claims that this was an over-reaction by police," he said.
"This was the fault of a drunken mob who went on the rampage. Martina Anderson can come and talk to me rather than indulge in old fashioned Sinn Fein rhetoric from 10 years ago which is now totally out of date.
"Early in the evening police were able to identify that the mood of some individuals was aggressive, mostly due to excessive drinking. This can often create an unpredictable situation and on this occasion it spilled into violence."
Mr Russell added: "We will be speaking to licensees and looking at CCTV and the reality is that a lot of those responsible were drunk before they even went out, having got stoked up from alcohol bought at off-licences.
"We will be looking at all the factors that could have contributed to this incident and if Martina Anderson, or indeed anyone has information on those responsible for the violence, they should inform the PSNI."