Londonderry will not be dragged back to the past says McDonald ahead of rally
Sinn Fein President Mary-Lou McDonald has said that Derry must not let recent sustained violence and attacks on police officers drag it back to the past.
Mrs McDonald was speaking on a visit to the Bogside area on Friday.
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There has been six consecutive nights of violent disorder, 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 Protestant Fountain estate has also been targeted in the attacks.
A solidarity rally is taking place in the Fahan Street area on Friday evening.
Mrs McDonald said everyone must demand an end to the violence.
“What we have witnessed over recent days has been a sustained attack on this city and the people of this city," the Sinn Fein leader said.
“As political leaders, as community leaders, as trade unionists, Church leaders, business people and as citizens of this beautiful city, we must stand shoulder to shoulder and demand an end to it.
“The people of Derry have a proud history of standing up for what is right. It is the city of Martin McGuinness and John Hume.
“It is the city of Civil Rights and in such a place, sectarian attacks should not be aimed at anyone."
She said that young people were being exploited.
“Pensioners should not be terrified in their homes," Mrs McDonald said.
“Mothers should not be afraid to allow their children out of their front doors.
“And young people should not be exploited as cannon fodder to do the bidding of those with failed political and personal agendas.
“I would urge the people of Derry to come out in numbers tonight and attend the rally which is taking place in Fahan Street at 7:30pm.
“We need to send a strong message to those responsible that they do not act in our name. That they will not succeed."
The Dublin Central TD said that the attacks were not representative of Derry.
“The vast, vast majority want to live their lives in peace. They want to enjoy the many fantastic things that are happening in Derry, like the Maritime Festival, the Foyle Cup and the Gasyard community Feile," Mrs McDonald said.
“That is the real Derry.
“That is the Derry we all know and love. And standing together tonight, we will send a strong message that we will not allow anyone to destroy that or drag us back to the past.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital