Young people leaving a youth club in the Waterside on Tuesday night ran the gauntlet of a sectarian gang and were subjected to verbal and physical abuse during what is being treated as a hate crime by the PSNI.
Police are investigating the incident which occurred on the Dungiven Road on Tuesday night.
Inspector Rosemary Thompson said: “This was a frightening incident for the young people who were inside the club and also for the adults who came to collect their children. We are treating this as a sectarian hate incident and our enquiries are ongoing.
“We would ask anyone who has information in relation to this incident to contact us on 101, quoting ref: 1131 200916.”
Police reported that at around 9.24pm, they received a report of a number of youths gathered outside the youth club on Dungiven Road, preventing young people inside the club from leaving.
The youths were verbally abusive and threw a number of items at a car. Police attended and the youths made off.
Waterside Sinn Féin Councillr Christoper Jackson slammed those responsible.
“I was contacted by parents who were very angry about this attack on children attending the club. A number were physically assaulted and there were also bottles and bricks thrown during the incident,” he said.
“It’s hard to imagine the fear these children must have being going through. The gang involved in this attack had their faces covered by scarves.
“Those responsible need to realise the possible consequences of their actions. At a time when communities in the Waterside are striving to cement peace and encourage reconciliation it would appear that there is a very small minority intent on living in the past. There is no place in our society for this carryon and those involved in these attacks should hang their heads in shame.
“We cannot allow a situation that during the hours of darkness parts of the Waterside become no go areas.
“I am calling on the PSNI to put in whatever resources are needed to counteract and apprehend those responsible for carrying out these attacks,” said Mr Jackson.