Northern Ireland news

Dissident republicans urged to lodge Derry Easter march with Parades Commission after violence warning

Violence erupted during last year's Easter Monday commemoration in Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

POLICE have urged organisers of a dissident republican Easter commemoration in Derry to lodge an application with the Parades Commission to avoid a PSNI presence at the event.

PSNI superintendent Alan Hutton made the appeal after organisers issued a statement claiming police would be to blame for any violence at the event.

Serious trouble erupted during last year’s Easter commemoration as the annual march paraded through Derry’s Creggan to the city’s cemetery. Petrol bombs were thrown at police vehicles which moved into the Creggan as the event started.

In the statement issued through dissident republican group, Saoradh this week, organisers said they rejected “ultimatums” given to them regarding the commemoration.

A spokesman for the “Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee” said: “We want a dignified procession and we call on community leaders to ensure that British crown forces exercise common sense.

“This is a republican commemoration in the middle of Creggan, a community that has stood tall throughout this ongoing struggle, a community that has earned the respect of Irish republicans the world over. If British crown forces saturate and hem in this community with armoured jeeps and armed British terrorists then the blame for any acts of resistance rests with them alone.”

Superintendent Hutton said he and others had tried to engage with the commemoration organisers in recent months.

“To date, our attempts at engagement have not been taken up,” he said.

The senior police officer appealed to the organisers and those with influence to make an application to the Parades’ Commission.

“By doing so, there will be no requirement for police to attend,” he said.

The police officer said no-one wished to see a repeat of last year’s violence.

“If the parade goes ahead then we will fulfil our obligations but in a proportionate manner,” he said.

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