Police were forced to implement a public safety operation in Londonderry after receiving a bomb call from dissident republicans.
A caller, using a code word attributable to violent dissident republicans, told police that devices had been left at a garage on Strand Road and at a hotel on the Culmore Road. After police searched the area, it has been determined it was a hoax.
Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “Both areas have been checked and no devices have been located. These reckless actions were clearly intended to cause significant disruption on a particularly busy Friday night, as the city continues to host the annual City of Derry Jazz festival. Both roads have now reopened.
“I understand the frustration felt and the disruption caused - and I would like to thank the local community for their patience this evening as we worked to keep people safe.”
The security alerts caused significant traffic disruption in the city during rush hour.
. @SDLPlive leader @columeastwood at the scene of this eveningâs bomb alert in #Derry. Cordons around Centra are being removed after searches found nothing. The alert at Da Vinciâs Hotel continues. Culmore Road between Pennyburn Roundabout and Belmont Park remains sealed off pic.twitter.com/TFeKyiK6xt— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) May 4, 2018
SDLP Mayor-elect John Boyle said he condemned the alerts in the strongest terms possible ahead of the Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival taking place this weekend.
Cllr Boyle said that the PSNI had received phone warnings about the devices but had been provided with "very little information".
"Here we have a weekend that this city has been looking forward to for a long time, the sun is out and there are thousands of visitors in the city," councillor Boyle said.
"There are those in our community who see fit to wreck all before them, the good work of the council and local people and threaten the employment prospects of local people by this sort of action.
"They have inconvenienced thousands of travellers in rush hour in the city, people are struggling to get home, collect children and I cannot condemn it strongly enough.
"It is a downright disgrace and I hope those involved are proud of themselves."
Security alert on Strand Road from Rock Rd to Culmore Rd. Please avoid area if possible. Businesses and homes being evacuated. pic.twitter.com/arfGKfsbFx— Mark H Durkan (@MarkHDurkan) May 4, 2018
SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said: "This is simply disgraceful and those responsible need to know that they do not represent anyone in this City. This is the fourth security alert in the City in the space of a few days - this must stop.
“The ongoing alert has caused widespread disruption as people make their way back from work and children en route home from school. This is a big weekend in the City with the jazz festival on and instead of showcasing how great Derry is to visitors - those responsible do this.
“I’ll continue to work with police to ensure that the public are safe. Going forward the entire community must be united to say this is not in our name and those behind these reckless acts should just go away and get off our backs.”