Martin McGuinness slams Derry rioters after Apprentice Boys’ parade
Fierce violence which flared after the annual Apprentice Boys’ parade in Londonderry was “motivated entirely by sectarianism”, Martin McGuinness has said.
The Deputy First Minister hit out angrily over the trouble which engulfed parts of the city on Saturday, saying those responsible went “against everything about Irish republicanism”.
Dissident republicans are suspected of involvement in gangs who hijacked vehicles and attacked police in nationalist areas. They also pulled a mother and daughter from their car near Creggan Street.
Petrol bombs were thrown at officers and at the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall in Derry, while police were also targeted with a pipe-bomb in the hours after the loyal order march took place.
As violence broke out after Saturday's parade, a number of vehicles were stolen and set alight. There were no reports of injuries.
Officers said a pipe-bomb device was thrown at police near Free Derry Corner shortly before 7pm. It exploded but there were no injuries or damage to property.
Three men — aged, 18, 19 and 24 — have been charged over the disorder and will appear before city magistrates on September 9.
Mr McGuinness said: “What we witnessed in Derry was completely unacceptable. I challenge those who were behind this violence to come out and try and defend the incidents that occurred in our city. Let them stand over a mother and daughter being dragged from their car in Creggan and other people's livelihoods being destroyed with work vans being burnt. The attacks on the Memorial Hall were motivated entirely by sectarianism and whoever carried them out should know that such behaviour goes against everything about Irish republicanism.”
He said the “vast majority of people in Derry want to get on with the job of moving this city forward”, adding: “Those behind this violence seem to be wedded to an entirely different agenda.”
The Apprentice Boys parade marked the anniversary of the ending of the 1689 Siege of Derry.
A protest involving some 100 members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and the Republican Network for Unity on Shipquay Street was held while the parade passed along its route.
Those watching the parade appeared unaware of the protest.
Rev David Latimer, whose First Derry Presbyterian Church overlooks the Bogside, said he was disappointed with how an initially peaceful day ended in violence.
He said: “One has to reflect on how the day had gone prior to the disturbances. The protest at Shipquay Street was largely peaceful and the parade passed off well.
“It is clear there is still a lot of work for us to do and we will not be deterred from that work, but anything that is achieved must be done peacefully.”