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Petrol bombs thrown at police in Derry as spate of attempted hijackings continues overnight

The PSNI said this was the third night of disorder “at the hands of cowards determined to cause disruption in our communities”.
Aug 6th 2020, 2:19 PM 20,296 15

POLICE IN DERRY were attacked with petrol bombs and paint bombs last night after attending the scene of a security alert which later turned out to be an elaborate hoax.

A further four attempted hijackings of vehicles were also reported, along with large numbers of youths congregating and some attacking police.

Derry and Strabane District Commander chief superintendent Emma Bond said: “This has been the third night of disorder in our city at the hands of cowards determined to cause disruption in our communities.  It is unacceptable and I am very disappointed people made a deliberate decision to go out onto the streets and cause trouble.”

Officers from the PSNI first attended the scene on the Skeoge Road where a suspicious object had been reported yesterday evening. In this location, there was disorder involving a number of youths who threw the petrol and paint bombs at police.

Later in the evening, at around 10.30pm, it was reported that a white recovery truck was hijacked in the vicinity of the Galliagh Roundabout.

The driver and his passenger were stopped by two – possibly three – men on the road. One of them poured fuel inside the vehicle covering the driver. 

Both men inside the vehicle managed to escape in what the PSNI described as a “terrifying ordeal” and got to safety before the truck was set alight. 

Police and units from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended where a crowd of around 150 people had gathered.

Some of the crowd threw missiles, including stones and bottles, at officers. A petrol bomb was also thrown but failed to ignite. 

At the same time, there was another attempted hijacking in Galliagh Park where a woman was stopped by a young masked man who tried to take her car. She managed to flee to safety but was left shaken by the incident. 

A further two attempted hijackings were reported in the Fergleen Park and Fairview Road areas later in the evening.

Chief superintendent Bond said that these actions were not representative of the city of Derry on the day John Hume was laid to rest.

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She said: “I want to stress the disorder we have seen on our streets over the past few nights has been caused by a minority of people who have absolutely no regard for our communities being impacted, and the people who live here.

“I am urging those who have been engaged in this recent violence, and anyone tempted to become involved in this type of criminal behaviour, to stop and consider the consequences of their actions, and desist immediately.”

Earlier this week, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that those responsible for the disorder were violating Derry’s grief in the wake of Hume’s death. 

He said: “People are trying to show their respect for a man who brought an end to conflict and worked every day of his life to improve the lives of the people of our city.

“The attacks on people and vehicles that have taken place across the city are a violation of Derry’s grief and those responsible have set themselves against our community. It needs to stop now and those responsible must be held accountable.”

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Sean Murray

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