RIRA behind Derry traffic chaos
The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for a series of security alerts which caused chaos in Londonderry city centre.
Commuters, shop workers, |students and pensioners all had their daily routines disrupted by the four security alerts.
In a rapidly developing series of alerts, police in the city first cordoned off the area between Asylum Road and Lawrence Hill, which included part of Strand Road and the main PSNI station in the city as well as parts of the North West Regional College.
Students were told to stay away and residents of Alexander House care home were forced out.
Shortly afterwards a police patrol discovered a suspicious white van parked by the archway to the Bishopsgate entrance to the city walls, close to the court house.
Then the Craigavon Bridge was closed to traffic at around 9am and later a fourth search led a section of the Madam's Bank Road being closed.
Army Technical Officers carried out a series of controlled explosions on the white van after the area had been evacuated. All of the alerts were later declared hoaxes.
Jim Roddy CEO of the City Centre Initiative said: “This has been another devastating day for the traders who are trying to make a living in what has been well |documented as very difficult days.
“To lose another Friday is devastating.
“People are struggling to pay their bills, even when things are normal, but to take one of the busiest days of the week away just compounds the difficulties they face in keeping trading.
“We see shutters up all over town and days like this make it a lot quicker for the next shutter to come down and the next business to close. People here are very frustrated and very angry.
“If anybody had the stomach for this sort of action it is long gone now. Nobody I know in the city wants this. It is only casting us back into the dark days that nobody wants to go back to.”