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Saoradh Colour Party marches from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Derry. 18 April 2022.
Derry

'They want to whip up division': Petrol bombs thrown at police in Derry after republican parade

PSNI officers seized a number of vehicles, suspected terrorist uniforms and petrol bombs after the Derry parade.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Apr 2022

THE PSNI HAS said that its officers had come under attack yesterday, after a republican parade was held in Derry to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

Five men – aged 29, 38, 40, 50 and 54 years – were arrested under the Terrorism Act yesterday, and a sixth man, aged 40 years old, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.

The PSNI has said that a 45-year-old man was arrested overnight under the Terrorism Act, and he remains in custody this morning.

This evening, the PSNI confirmed another man, aged 44, was held under the Terrorism Act and remains in custody.

Officers also seized a number of vehicles, suspected terrorist uniforms and petrol bombs.

Derry and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson said participants in the parade were assessed as having potentially committed criminal offences.

“Police monitored the event closely and, at what was considered to be considered to be an appropriate point, took action to secure evidence and make arrests,” he said.

Whilst doing so, police officers came under attack from petrol bombs and masonry.

“Our officers showed tremendous courage and professionalism in what was still clearly a dangerous situation.

“Fortunately, none of our officers, or members of the public, were injured as a result of this reckless and criminal behaviour. Our inquiries will continue over the coming days and weeks to bring offenders to justice.”

saoradh-colour-party-at-the-city-cemetery-in-londonderry-after-marching-from-free-derry-corner-as-part-of-an-event-to-mark-the-1916-easter-rising-picture-date-monday-april-18-2022 Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said that those who orchestrated attacks on the police from the City Cemetery will find no support among the people of Derry.

Eastwood said that young people were being manipulated in what was clearly a premeditated and organised attempt to create a violent standoff following an Easter parade. He said this was “absolutely and totally wrong”.

Young people in our city are being manipulated into carrying out violent attacks against police officers by people who are intent on dragging this city and its people backwards. We wont let them win.

“Those responsible for orchestrating a very clearly pre-arranged attack on police wanted to create a violent standoff this afternoon. They want to whip up division, fear and resentment because it’s the only way they can gain a foothold in our community.

“They need to understand that those days are long gone and they aren’t coming back.”

Lyra McKee

lyra-mckees-sisters-nichola-corner-left-and-joan-hunter-right-stand-with-ms-mckees-partner-sara-canning-centre-during-a-vigil-attended-by-members-of-the-national-union-of-journalists-nuj-at Lyra McKee's sisters' Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Lyra's partner Sara Canning during a vigil. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The family of murdered journalist Lyra McKee have voiced disgust that the republican Easter parade, linked with dissidents, went ahead on the anniversary of her murder.

Lyra died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on 18 April 2019.

Vigils took place in her memory in Belfast and Derry yesterday, Easter Monday.

An extremist group styling itself the New IRA has previously claimed it was responsible for killing the journalist and author.

The republican parade that took place in Derry yesterday to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising was connected to the group Saoradh – which is accused of having links with the New IRA.

The Parades Commission had ruled that no paramilitary style clothing be worn in the procession – but photos show those taking part in the parade wearing khaki trousers, army boots and masked. 

Lyra’s sister Nichola Corner questioned why the event could not have been held on a different day, pointing out the date of Easter changes every year.

“When we objected to this parade taking place, it was on the grounds of the date alone, not on the grounds of marching,” she told the PA news agency.

“Had they marched on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, we wouldn’t have cared.

It is insulting to go forth on Lyra’s anniversary, to do a parade of this nature honouring other dead. It’s in really bad taste.

Lyra’s partner Sara Canning added: “We’re here to honour someone we loved, and they’re there to honour people who died 106 years ago. That’s my personal take on it and why I think it’s in such bad taste.”

The Unfinished Revolution National Easter Commemoration parade ended at Derry City Cemetery where an address was heard.

A masked man told those gathered: “We are here to stay”, to applause before the Irish national anthem was played. A message was also read from republican prisoners at jails in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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