'People of Derry don't want this' says Colum Eastwood after riots in Creggan involving six-year-old kids

A general view of Southway, Creggan at the junction with Magowan Park
-Credit: (Image: Google StreetView)

The people of Derry don't want further disorder, local MP Colum Eastwood has said following "clearly unacceptable" attacks on police that erupted during disorder in the Creggan area of the city on Tuesday.

Police say the disorder unfolded following the discovery of a suspicious device at around 7.45pm in Southway, as they attended a sudden death in the nearby Magowan Park.

The violence has been roundly condemned as "clearly unacceptable" amid "disheartening" reports children as young as six years old may have been involved.

Read more: Creggan security alert latest as PSNI hit out at 'senseless disorder' with children as young as six involved in incidents

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A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police had been in the area yesterday afternoon dealing with a sudden death in Magowan Park. As officers were conducting enquiries in relation to this, they made the discovery.

"A public safety operation was implemented with cordons put in place, however, up until around midnight, there was disorder with paint and petrol bombs, heavy masonry and fireworks being thrown at police. Some of those involved were children. Those involved in the disorder dispersed around midnight.

"Following examination of the suspicious device by Ammunition Technical Officers, the alert was described as an elaborate hoax."

A man, 36, was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and remained in custody on Wednesday morning.

SDLP MP for Foyle Colum Eastwood said: “The disorder in Creggan last night is clearly unacceptable. It’s particularly disheartening to hear reports that children may have been involved, risking their own futures for thoughtless attacks on police land rovers.

“People in Derry don’t want this, we all want a future together and at peace with our neighbours. And none of us want to see children throwing opportunities away by getting involved in this.

“I would appeal for calm now. The SDLP will be engaging with local police and the community in Creggan to make sure there is no further escalation in the days ahead.”

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: “This was a disgraceful attack on police officers who are working on behalf of the entire community to keep us safe. There can be no excuse for such violence and I hope that everyone will point the blame solely towards those who orchestrated and engaged in such shameful behaviour.

"Reports that children as young as six were involved in this beggar belief, but six-year-olds do not come prepared with petrol bombs and fireworks. They were used and exploited by others in that area who clearly put no value on the lives of those children or the police officers they were attacking."

He added: "Thankfully there are no reports of injuries but there needs to be a stand taken right across the community in our city against such attacks."

Alliance MLA and Policing Board Member Peter McReynolds also called out the attacks on police officers in Derry.

"The riots that developed in Derry City last night were disgraceful and those engaged in them have achieved nothing other than bringing misery upon their own area, including the potential for criminal records harming future prospects," he said.

"There is no future in this type of behaviour and it is not wanted by the communities there.

“Our thoughts must also be with the police officers who were injured. Public servants have a fundamental right to go to and return from work without being targets, nor being subject to attacks and violence."

He added: "The reports of children as young as six years old being involved are also deeply concerning. These children are being exploited by grown adults and manipulated into contributing to violence that could impact on their later life opportunities. Those encouraging young children to take part in violence need to reflect on the impact they are having on their local area and immediately cease these activities."

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