Belfast Telegraph

Calls for Derry peace bridge to be closed at night because of sectarian attacks

By Donna Deeney

A community worker in the Waterside area of Londonderry was battered and left with broken teeth by a sectarian gang of around 30 who had crossed the peace bridge.

He was the latest victim in an increased number of attacks on people and homes in the Bond Street area over recent weeks.

DUP councillor David Ramsey warned that someone will die if action isn't taken to stop the assaults.

Mr Ramsey said: "The community groups in the Waterside have done everything they can to try and keep the young people from Bond Street safe and this has escalated steadily.

"There is a sectarian gang coming and attacking houses and young Protestants, but despite a number of inter-agency meetings it has continued.

"We knew this was going to escalate into something more sinister and serious and it is obvious there are republican elements using the peace bridge to create an interface or to stamp some kind of authority in the Waterside." Mr Ramsay said there are even calls for the bridge to be closed at night.

"Most of the abuse that is happening isn't being reported, but this week there was an incident when a gang of around 30 threw bottles and shouted abuse at a young man wearing a Northern Ireland football top and his friends.

"Two other fellas got a very serious beating which has left one with broken teeth and the other fella was hospitalised.

"There is a real fear among local people, particularly when the weather is good, and they want to see this stopped."

A PSNI spokesman said a meeting with community and political representative will take place in the coming days.

He said: "Police received a report of an altercation between a group of people in the Ebrington Square/Limavady Road area of Derry. Police attended and one male was cautioned for the offence of disorderly behaviour.

"Police have commenced an investigation and will review all available CCTV footage of the incident. Police appeal to anyone who has any information about the incident to contact officers in Strand Road, quoting reference number 1504 of 18/07/17.

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