Petrol bomb thrown

The scene in the Bogside this morning as the disputed bonfire which was lit in the area shortly after 11am last night.

The scene in the Bogside this morning as the disputed bonfire which was lit in the area shortly after 11am last night.

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Last night’s disturbances in the Cityside have been condemned by community leaders.

Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton has described last nights activity in the Bogside as “anarchic”.

Pallets, tyres, police signs, loyalist flags and Sinn Fein election posters adorn the bonfire being erected at Lecky Road yesterday.

Pallets, tyres, police signs, loyalist flags and Sinn Fein election posters adorn the bonfire being erected at Lecky Road yesterday.

Mr Middleton, together with Aldermen Graham Warke and David Ramsey were in the city centre and viewed the bonfire situation at the Lecky Road flyover from the historic walls, as the situation developed.

“This bonfire was built deliberately to block the main route into the area, causing huge disruption to local residents and emergency services,” Mr Middleton said.

“The bonfire had dozens of tyres and was decorated with flags and emblems representing the unionist community, which were set alight along with political posters including my own.

“The night turned more sinister when a petrol bomb was thrown onto the city’s walls which caused the many gathered to scatter and the PSNI having to close the area off. There were dozens of tourists watching the bonfire from this point.

A smaller bonfire which was light in the patch of ground from which police removed bonfire material last Thursday-August 11.

A smaller bonfire which was light in the patch of ground from which police removed bonfire material last Thursday-August 11.

“I condemn those behind the security alert on the flyover. Their actions have served only to cause disruption and havoc in local people’s lives.

“We must ensure that the anarchy in the Bogside is never repeated. The local community leaders, PSNI and agencies should begin immediately to prepare for next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney also condemned the disturbances and security alert last night. “The damage, disturbances and disruption, which arose from last night’s bonfire in the Bogside must be condemned,” he said.

“Several families, including elderly people, had to be evacuated from their homes due to a security alert on Charlotte Street. This situation was dictated by a tiny group of young people who are being exploited by more sinister elements who are clearly determined to act against the wishes of the local community.

“The scenes around the bonfire were in stark contrast with the excellent finale to this year’s Féile which showed the positive community spirit of the people in this area who want nothing to do with the bonfire.

“There was an opportunity to avoid all of these problems through dialogue. Unfortunately that failed because people absented themselves from that process or effectively scuppered it by acting as cheerleaders for anti-community behaviour.

“That process was an opportunity lost and we need to see renewed efforts to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future so the local residents can live in peace.”