Belfast Telegraph

Twelfth violence: Petrol bombs thrown at police in Derry as Orangemen are attacked by youths

By Claire Cromie

Both police officers and Orangemen came under attack from youths in the Derry area on Monday night.

Petrol bombs were thrown at PSNI officers in the Bogside, with youths as young as 10 setting fire to pallets and rubbish in Leckey Road and Westland Street.

A white pizza delivery van was hijacked  in Iona Court by two masked men and set on fire a short time later in Fahan Street.

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said the Verbal Arts Centre came under attack as the youths "tried to create mayhem".

"There can be no excuse for attacking a historic building like the Verbal Arts Centre, where fantastic work helping local people continues to go on," he said.

"I also understand that a local business employing over 50 people had a van targeted and burned. The business owner and their family are going through a difficult time and this is the last thing they need.

"Those behind this violence have brought shame upon themselves and have damaged the reputation of our city. I would encourage anyone with any information to come forward to the police as soon as possible.”

PSNI chief inspector Andy Lemon said: "I want to reiterate our message to youths involved in this kind of activity that you run the very real risk of being arrested and getting a criminal record which could affect your life for a very long time.

"Parents need to know where their children are, who they are with and what they are doing.

Orange members attacked

Meanwhile, nine miles away in Greysteel, a bus carrying Orange lodge members from the Republic was hit by stones as it returned from a Twelfth demonstration in Coleraine.

Windows were broken but no one was seriously injured.

William Wray, from the City of Londonderry Grand Lodge, told the BBC he had family members on the bus.

"The window smashed and glass came in around the people," said Mr Wray.

"There were children on one of the buses - they were petrified. There was a lot of stress on the bus.

"We need community leaders in Greysteel to do something about this.

"I would be critical of the police - they weren't there for the return journey."

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has asked police to explain why there was no police presence when "this has been happening over a period of years".

"It has been the practice in recent years for a Police presence to be maintained for the short time when the buses pass through the village. That action tended to ensure attacks were less likely. It appears that this did not happen yesterday," he said.

"Stone throwing at a bus with dozens of passengers could result in serious injury. Police and local representatives in the area need to act to ensure that this is the last time Orange culture is attacked - it's not just Orange feet being unacceptable but even Orangemen and women sitting in a bus seems to be unacceptable to some in Greysteel."

SDLP MLA John Dallat said the incident was a cowardly act: "Anyone who has respect for the good name of Greysteel and its wonderful people will want to protect the history and dignity of those people and not allow its reputation to be besmirched or linked with other shameful events in Belfast and elsewhere."

Chief Supt Raymond Murray said: "An investigation is underway to find those responsible for the attack and I would appeal for anyone with any information to contact police on 101.

"Police will review the incident at Greysteel and address any issues that are identified, accordingly."

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