Residents protest at Westland St

Residents of Westland Street in the Bogside area took to the streets on Friday night to highlight what they have described as anti-social behaviour by young people over recent weeks.

Over the last number of weekends, crowds of up to 200 young people have been gathering at a laneway close to the top of Westland Street, and also at nearby West End Park.

Residents claimed that some of the young people have been damaging gates, breaking windows, and making noise late at night.

One resident claimed he had been assaulted by a group of young people after he challenged them over making noise outside his home.

Around 100 residents took part in the protest, as well as around 20 members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

One of the organisers, Westland Terrace resident Dee Harkin, said the residents invited the 32 CSM to join the protest.

“I have come out and challenged these young people on a number of occasions in recent weeks and they can be very intimidating. Many people are afraid to come out to them. That is why we called this protest to give people the opportunity to stand together and the residents invited the 32CSM to support them. They would not have come out onto the street without them,” he said.

Another local resident, Goretti Horgan from the People Before Profit Alliance, called for more facilities for young people in the area as an alternative to street corners.

She said her group is engaging with the young people with a view to establishing a youth forum across the city to organise night-time activities for teenagers. Ms Horgan said young people need to be given the opportunity to be involved in making decisions about youth provision.