Attacks on Fountain and police prompt cross-partisan condemnation
The petrol-bombing of the last majority unionist estate on Derry's cityside over the weekend has prompted cross-partisan condemnation.
The attack on the Fountain over the weekend, which resulted in the PSNI coming under a sustained barrage of missiles, was condemned by all of the main political parties locally.
Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan said: “A number of petrol bombs have been thrown into the Fountain Estate. There were several more thrown right outside the gates of Alexander House.
“Those responsible are more than likely the same people who terrorise residents of the Meenan Park area on a nightly basis.
“Wrecking and terrorising your own community or a neighbouring community is wrong and is not reflective of the proud community that is the Bogside.
“I call on all elected representatives, community organisations and residents of the Bogside to send a strong and loud message that this activity is not carried out in our name."
SDLP MLA Mark Durkan said: ''For the second week in a row, petrol bombs have been thrown into the Fountain Estate.The destruction and death that could have been caused does not bear thinking about.These attacks are completely reprehensible and those behind them must be brought to their senses and brought to justice.
"There is never any justification for attacks on people and their homes. It is my opinion that some are merely using sectarianism as an excuse for thuggery - a lot of these young people have no respect for their own community and have people there terrorised too.
"A lot of good work has been done in this interface area over the years but sadly we seem to be moving backwards in many respects. The divisive nature of politics here - where the DUP and Sinn Féin depend so much on division - is filtering down and festering on our streets. This manifests itself in ever-growing displays of flags, bigger bonfires and tensions between communities.
"Now is the time for cool heads and leadership in those communities and for proper political leadership here in the North; bringing people together rather than driving them apart.''
DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: "There are elements within republicanism deliberately intent on trying to raise tensions in the run up to one of the largest unionist cultural expressions on Thursday.
"It is deeply worrying the lengths that those involved are determined to go to by endangering life and property, as result of intolerance. There is no justification for hurling up to 30 petrol bombs and seeking havoc.
"The residents of the Fountain want to live in peace, side by side. Those involved, sadly including children do not care about the community or our city. Their actions are reprehensible.
"I want to commend the police for the work they carried out around the clock last night to prevent loss of life. Their officers were on the front line. Those responsible must be apprehended for the destruction and fear they have caused. Leadership from all sides must be shown to stomp out any further activity and I would appeal from calm.”
Alderman Derek Hussey said: “The Fountain has come under attack in recent weeks for one reason and one reason alone – pure sectarian hatred.
“This is a small Protestant community whose very existence is an affront to a section of republicans who will not be content until all Protestants are removed from the west bank of the Foyle.
"Republicans embarked on a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Protestants in the early 1970s and now a new generation seems determined to try to finish the job."
He added: “The scale of this disorder would not be tolerated anywhere else in the United Kingdom or the Republic. This is a stain on the city of Londonderry and must be highlighted far and wide.
“As I said previously, all the people of the Fountain want is the equality and respect that others talk about. These attacks must stop and they must be stopped.”
The Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry MLA, said: "There are clearly sinister forces at work seeking to engage in attacks on the police, to undermine the rule of law and to cause fear and tension in the vulnerable Fountain community. "It is vital the entire community rallies around the police In protecting the community and supports shared space, including people having the freedom to live where they choose, free of fear and violence. "If anyone has any information on this or any of the recent incidents there, I would urge them to take it to the PSNI immediately."