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PSNI investigating destruction of SDLP billboard after latest incident in ‘incredibly nasty’ campaign

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The billboard was destroyed in the Waterside area of Derry.

The billboard was destroyed in the Waterside area of Derry.

The billboard was destroyed in the Waterside area of Derry.

Police are investigating damage caused to an SDLP billboard by “vandals” in the Waterside area of Derry.

SDLP Leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood condemned the destruction of a party election billboard in the Bonds Hill area of the city and attacks on candidates throughout Northern Ireland.

It is the latest in a series of incidents during the election campaign, in which election material has been removed or destroyed.

A number of candidates have also faced verbal and physical abuse.

People Before Profit’s east Belfast candidate Hannah Kenny who was subjected to a “horrifying ordeal” by three men.

The PSNI confirmed it is investigating a report of criminal damage which occurred at the Bond’s Hill in the early hours of Saturday, April 30. Enquiries are continuing.

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Inspector Swanson said: “We, within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, are committed to doing everything we can to ensure all candidates can participate fully in the forthcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election free from harassment, intimidation and other forms of criminality.

"We are investigating thoroughly all incidents which have been reported to us, including the removal and destruction of election posters, and any identified suspects will be liable to prosecution.

"I would appeal to anyone who witnesses the theft or damage of election posters to contact police on 101 immediately.”

Colum Eastwood MP spoke of an “incredibly nasty election campaign” so far with SDLP candidates coming under attack in constituencies across the North.

“Those responsible can tear down posters, they can destroy billboards but they will not stop people voting for change on Thursday and they will never stop us putting People First,” he said.

“Loyalist paramilitaries are manipulating young people and sending them to attack SDLP posters and billboards in every constituency where we could take a DUP seat.

"The best response is for people to defy them, come out on Thursday and vote to make sure that we do take those seats.”

He added: “In Derry our campaign is focussed on returning three powerful community representatives who will deliver on the real priorities facing working people in this city.

"The hot tempers of these vandals wont heat a single home in this city but three SDLP MLAs will get to work on day one of the next Assembly to put our cost of living plan into action to get vital money out to every household in Derry.

“I understand that police are investigating the damage of this billboard. Everyone in Derry should come out on Thursday, prove the vandals wrong, vote SDLP and send three powerful voices to Stormont to deliver for you.”


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