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Shots fired during riot

SHOTS were fired after up to 100 youths threatened residents and threw bricks at police cars during a riot.

Masked men reportedly fired shots after the youths rioted in the Leafair Gardens area of Galliagh in Derry on Wednesday night and attacked police cars.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) claimed the youths threatened to burn residents out of their homes and attacked their houses and cars.

The front window of at least one home was smashed.

No-one was injured in the riot, which began after 9pm.

Police used CS spray in an attempt to calm rioters. Two police cars were badly damaged in the disturbances.

Masked men also reportedly fired shots in the area at about 11.20pm in a bid to disperse the rioters. The shots were reported to police in the early hours of yesterday.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested for disorderly behaviour. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

The IRSP said the trouble had been "developing for a number of months".

IRSP spokeswoman Yvonne Barr said there had been trouble in the area in the past.

"The fire service have attended fires and were pelted with missiles," she said.

"We are aware that a large number of underage youths were high on drugs and alcohol and we call on parents to be aware of the state that their children are coming home in and to take appropriate action.

"We have been inundated with complaints about people openly selling drugs, in particular legal highs in this area and we believe that this has contributed to the current spate of trouble."

Mrs Barr said the community needs to stand against anti-social behaviour.

"We call on the community confront this menace," she said.

"The IRSP have been on the streets and will be on the street over next few weeks to stand with the community and we would call on all political and community activists to stand with the residents against this madness."

Independent councillor Dermot Quigley called for a community safety forum in the area to be re-established.

"There was a forum that had been working well but it was taken down," he said.

Mr Quigley said anti-social behaviour must be tackled to avoid a repeat of the rioting.

"These issues are something the whole community needs to look at," he said.

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