Belfast Telegraph

Young people not dissidents behind latest Derry disorder, says Sinn Fein councillor

'Easy way to lure the police in, I don't think there's anything malicious behind it or anyone orchestrating the attacks'

The security alert in Derry last night
The security alert in Derry last night

A Sinn Fein councillor has said that local young people, not dissident republicans were the ones behind a night of disorder in Londonderry on Thursday.

Police were called to Moss Park around 7pm after reports of a suspicious device - later found to be an elaborate hoax - in the vicinity of St Paul's Primary School, which was being used for the European election.

When officers attended the scene they came under attack with five petrol bombs being thrown at them.

Two teenagers aged 17 and a boy aged 12 have been arrested in connection with the disorder.

Derry Sinn Fein councillor Aileen Mellon lives in the area and said she did not believe dissident republicans were behind the disorder.

"What I seen was large groups of young people, there had been petrol bombs thrown, police had cordoned off the area," she said.

"There is a shop nearby, young people were standing at the side of the shop throwing blindly, not looking where it was going.

"There was young people with their children parking up and going into the shop, somebody could have very easily been hurt."

Councillor Mellon said that there was an issue with anti-social behaviour in the area.

"From what we've heard on the ground this are groups of young people, we've been having issues over the last month or two with young people stealing bins from people's gardens and lighting them in the roads to try and attract the police in so they can have conflict with them," she said.

"It's an easy way to lure the police in, I don't think there's anything malicious behind it or anyone orchestrating the attacks."

The Sinn Fein councillor said that while it was "shocking" a 12-year-old was arrested in connection with the incident she was not surprised.

"It's very saddening that a 12-year-old is able to come out, we've been calling for parents to come out and bring their children home and keep them safe," Mrs Mellon said.

"Unfortunately I'm not very shocked at the age range we've seen, it can start from 11-12 right up to late teens."

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