Petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown at police officers as they responded to several calls of burning barricades erected in the middle of roads in Moss Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.
“It was only through good fortune , “that we are not dealing with a fatality this morning,” police said, Officers were targeted by some 20 petrol bombs in the course of the weekend.
Police have vowed to make more arrests in “the coming days” following the weekend’s rioting. They also confirmed some youths not yet in their teens were involved in the trouble which they described as a “drain on police resources”.
In one instance, a taxi narrowly avoided being struck by a petrol bomb on the Aileach Road at 11.30pm on Sunday evening. One hour earlier PSNI officers responded to a report of a blazing barricade at Slievemore Roundabout, where a large crowd of youths were causing “disturbance and disorder”.
The trouble is widely seen as a reaction to bonfire materials being removed on Friday morning. Police described the unrest as an attempt to lure officers into the area in order to make them the target of the attacks.
Foyle Area Commander, Chief Inspector Garry Eaton, said yesterday: “The Moss Park community wants this to stop.
“They said no to a bonfire and they are determined not to be dictated to by a small number of people.
“I would expect those responsible to be confronted, both by their own community and by the police in the coming days and weeks. There can be no excuse for the level of violence directed at the community and at community infrastructure.”
According to the PSNI the trouble is not being orchestrated but; “It is a small number of people involved and we urge them to stop.” Chief Inspector Eaton worryingly said of those rioting: “There are some examples of young people not quite in their teenage years being involved.
“I urge parents to know where their children are. Parents need to underline that these are attacks on the community in which these young people live.
“A larger number of spectators than rioters are on the streets, we would appeal to those people to stay away.
“Don’t be on the streets when this is happening.
“If you have no reason to be there stay at home and allow police to deal with those creating the disturbances.”
The PSNI Area Commander added: “Those responsible will be arrested and face serious consequences which could impinge their career and travel hopes for the future.”
The Chief Inspector also admitted the trouble was: “a drain on police resources.
“We have to focus our resources in restoring order as soon as we can and this does strain police resources.
“That is another impact of this trouble. Our quality of service is depleted at times due to us having to focus on that area.”
Local Councillor Jimmy Carr, SDLP said: “These young people had my sympathy last week but if they think they can get their wishes by this behaviour they are sadly, dangerously mistaken. In fact they are off their heads.
“These actions are ruining good name of the youth of Galliagh which has come a long way in last ten years.”
Two men have already been arrested and charged in relation to incidents in Moss Park.