Fight was a sectarian brawl and social media was used to organise it say city’s Aldermen

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A ring of steel is to be thrown round Ebrington Square to prevent a repeat of the riot which occurred last night involving around 100 teenagers and young people.

According to police a 15-year-old boy walking along Limavady Road with his mother, was taken to A&E for treatment to facial injures after he was set upon during the incident.

Police received reports of the altercation between groups of young people at around 8.10pm and a number of groups who were in the area dispersed by police tasked to the scene.

A PSNI spokesman said Police will be conducting follow-up enquires, adding: “Where there is evidence of criminal offences being committed, there will be consequences for those involved. Young people planning on coming to Ebrington Square this evening intent on causing trouble are warned to stay away.

“Police will be increasing patrols and our visible presence in the area and will have a number of pieces of evidence gathering equipment at their disposal such as body worn cameras and CCTV recording. It’s not about spoiling fun, this is about Keeping People Safe.

“Please consider the consequences if you’re arrested and end up with a criminal conviction. A conviction can damage opportunities to travel, study and get the job you want,” the spokesman said.

The incident has been condemned by Alderman Mary Hamilton, who described the brawl as ridiculous: “It is good to know the police will be there tonight and tomorrow night.

“It is ridiculous that this should happen at a time of festivity for the city. Young people should be out enjoying themselves. What enjoyment is there in organising fights and laying into each other with your fists?

“Those responsible for putting that boy in hospital deserve to receive the full measure of the law when they are found. It was a disgraceful display of violence at a time of festivity,” she said.

Alderman Gary Middleton also condemned the incident and said adults who had parked their vehicles in the Bonds Street area were prevented from getting to their cars and leaving as the riot for a time had spilled out of Ebrington and across the road.

“We have learned that there had been tension building over the last few nights and that seems to have culminated in last night’s fight,” he said.

“This brawl was an orchestrated incident involving large numbers of young people and I understand that social media was used to organise it. It seems to be a sectarian incident involving groups of young people.

“I have spoken to the police last night and this morning and have been assured that additional resources are being deployed tonight and tomorrow during the Hallowe’en festivities in town,” he said.