Belfast Telegraph

Londonderry riots orchestrated by cowards hiding in the shadows: Doug Beattie

Rioting in Londonderry is being orchestrated by violent republicans "hiding in the shadows", according to an Ulster Unionist MLA.

There has been six consecutive nights of violent disorder in the city, with several attempts to murder police officers both with guns and bomb-like devices.

On Thursday night trouble broke out in the city's republican Bogside area with 74 petrol bombs thrown at police and residents.

The PSNI took the decision to fire four plastic baton rounds during the disorder.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said dissident republicans were using children to create disorder and then criticise the PSNI's response to the violence.

Posts of youths showing bruises from baton rounds have been posted on social media by republicans, criticising the police response.

The account of dissident group Republican Sinn Fein tweeted a picture of a youth, saying: "Crown forces have hit two children in the Bogside using plastic bullets! Reject the RUC!".

Mr Beattie said: “What we have had from day one - in fact from a number of weeks previously - is orchestrated rioting by violent republicans in order to create a reaction from the police to justify their actions.

"It is quite deliberate and it is straight out of the republican terror manual, where grown men coerce children to do their vile dirty work for them.

“These so called brave men and women sitting at home or in the pubs drinking, hide in the shadows, while children destroy the reputation of the city and those that live in it, must be targeted by the PSNI and justice system. 

“Londonderry is gearing up to host the Foyle Maritime Festival and the Foyle Cup football tournament. Last night Derry City played a Europa League match against Dinamo Minsk at the Brandywell. These are the events that should be part of daily life in a modern city, not gangs of thugs out to wreak havoc and terrorise locals and visitors alike.

“In the meantime I call for calm, and I ask that the PSNI are given the time, space, support and information to bring this situation under control.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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