Northern Ireland news

Dissidents cancel Derry commemoration following murder

Police came under sustained petrol bomb attack in Derry on Thursday night. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire
Seamus McKinney

DISSIDENT republicans have called off their annual Easter Monday commemoration following the murder in Derry of journalist Lyra McKee.

Dissident republican political party Saoradh laid the blame for Thursday night's violence at the "feet of British crown forces" and described her killer as a "republican volunteer" who was attempting to defend people from the police.

There had been fears of violence at the annual march from Creggan shops to Derry City Cemetery after organisers refused a police request to lodge an application for the event with the Parades Commission. Earlier this week, the organisers said the responsibility for any violence would lie with police.

Describing the murder as "the tragic and accidental killing", a spokesman for the organisers said the commemoration was being called off as a mark of respect to Ms McKee.

In a separate statement issued by Saoradh, the organisation said "crown forces" were sent to Creggan to attack republicans. A spokesman alleged police have “waged a campaign of oppression” against republicans in Derry.

"Saoradh has not shied away from highlighting this, including attacks on our members. In doing so we have continually gave (sic) our analysis that this oppression would inevitably be met with resistance, as has historically been the case.

"The inevitable reaction to such an incursion was resistance from the youth of Creggan. The blame for last night lies squarely at the feet of the British crown forces who sought to grab headlines and engineered a confrontation with the community."

He added that during what he described as an "attack", a republican volunteer attempted to defend people.

"Tragically a young journalist covering the events, Lyra McKee, was killed accidentally while standing behind armed crown force personnel and armoured vehicles. The outcome is heart-breaking and we extend our sincerest sympathy to the family, friends and loved ones of the deceased," he said.

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