An Independent Councillor on Derry City and Strabane District Council has refused to condemn a bomb attack on the PSNI in the city on Sunday night (November 2).
And, police came under petrol bomb attack in the Creggan Heights area last night following the continuation of a security operation that saw some people evacuated from their homes. The security alert is still ongoing and three males aged between 13 and 16 remain in custody having been arrested on suspicion of public order offences. Police say a substantial number of youths took part in last nights disturbances.
Gary Donnelly, elected to council on the first count in May this year is also a prominent member of the republican political organisation the 32 County Sovereignty Movement which is opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.
As the disturbances took hold in Creggan last night, Mr Donnelly wrote on facebook of the anger being felt in the community over the actions of the police. The council representative said anger had risen in the area because of the time delay in police attending the scene of the bomb attack and also because of what he described as the heavy handed tactics being employed by the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group.
He said: Palpable anger in Creggan tonight as locals are beaten, gassed and arrested by the RUC. Not a politician or community worker in sight. Local man had his front door kicked off its hinges and arrested for refusing to leave his home. Local shop owner trailed out of his shop and forced to close, another resident assaulted and threatened with arrest for parking his car outside his home. Tonight, women and children assaulted and gassed after armed police mounted footpaths in armoured vehicles. Community policing at its best.”
Mr Donnelly told the Journal that there has been a lot of mounting anger against the police, politicians and the media.
The Journal put it to Mr Donnelly that he is now in effect a political representative and asked him for his thoughts on the bomb attack on the police in a built up area on Sunday night.
“That’s the situation we find ourselves in. Politicians and media have become very one sided and ignore the actions of the state. Go to Creggan now and see where the anger is directed towards. Beatings ,house raids, stop and search are being ignored.”
Mr Donnelly was also asked if he would condemn the bomb attack on the PSNI on Sunday night.
He said: “I am a Republican and I am critical of the state. There’s plenty of people out there who will condemn it. I won’t. Condemnation won’t change anything. The SDLP are hypocrites, (Mark) Durkan praised the bravery of British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as do the Unionists. Sinn Fein have not condemned the PIRA and have representatives who have carried out violence. I never hear the press asking them to apologise or condemn their action, because they only oppose armed struggle now from a strategic point of view, not a moral one.”
This morning PSNI Area Commander, Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said “We would appeal to people with influence in the community to do what they can to dissuade young people from getting involved in this type of behaviour.
“We realise the disruption this operation has caused to the local community, many of whom have been out of their homes for some time. We appreciate their understanding, patience and co-operation. We know people understand that our priority must be their safety and the safety of our officers.
“We also have to carry out a scene examination - this is vital but often a painstakingly slow process - and one which will continue. It is imperative that we make every effort to secure any evidence from the scene that could potentially lead to people being charged and brought to justice. We know the public want us to investigate this in a thorough and professional manner.
“Police would again like to thank the community for their patience while we work to identify the persons who have caused this disruption in their community. We are determined to put these people before the courts.”