Northern Ireland news

Van hijacked and set alight in latest Derry disorder

The scene in the Bogside area of Derry after a van was hijacked and burnt out at the bottom of the Lecky fly-over in Derry yesterday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

A VAN was hijacked and set alight amid more disorder in Derry yesterday, as church leaders appealed for calm in the city.

The vehicle was burnt out at Lecky Road in the Bogside area yesterday afternoon as the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good and the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, were visiting the Fountain and the Bogside estates.

The two church leaders met people affected by petrol bomb attacks on the Fountain estate and by subsequent rioting in the Bishop Street and Lecky Road areas over recent days.

But as the clergymen left St Columb's Wells, a van was abandoned close to Lecky Road flyover and set alight. Fire fighters extinguished the blaze.

In a joint statement, Bishop McKeown and Bishop Good condemned the trouble.

"The continuing attacks on the Fountain - indeed, attacks on people in any part of our community - are an affront to our society and deserve our unqualified condemnation,” they said.

"There is no justification for the stone-throwing and petrol bombing which has terrorised people living in the Fountain, terrified residents of Alexander House, and appalled the vast, vast majority of their fellow citizens."

On Monday night, two officers and a woman bystander were injured in another night of disorder.

More than 25 petrol bombs were thrown during the sporadic disturbances in the Bogside area, with a car set on fire and a road blocked with burning wooden pallets.

Three people were arrested, with police warning that more arrests would follow.

A 17-year-old male also appeared before Derry Magistrate's Court yesterday charged with disorderly behaviour, assault on police, resisting police and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was released on his own bail of £250 and the judge ordered the youth to continue to live in his family home, to observe a 11pm to 7am curfew and not to enter the Bogside area of the city.

A 50-year-old man was last night also charged with intentionally encouraging or assisting a riot in Derry in May.

The man was arrested near the scene of disorder in Derry on Monday night, however, the charge relates to an incident in Rossville Street in the city on May 28. He is due to appear in court in Derry today.

Another man, aged 20, remained in police custody last night.

Earlier on Monday, around 100 residents from the Bogside held a rally to show support for Fountain residents. They walked to the estate to demonstrate that the disorder was not in their name.

PSNI Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said "the local community needs to see a resolution to this issue now".

"As we strive to promote our positive image, the negative effect of these violent pictures on jobs, tourism and investment cannot be under-estimated. We do not want to take a backward step," he said.

"I urge all those with influence to urgently use it to bring a resolution to the violence and work towards a longer term solution for the issues affecting this area."

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