Peace Bridge attacks are condemmned

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Representatives from the DUP and Waterside Restorative Practice have met with the victims and families of Friday’s sectarian attack on the Peace Bridge.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said up to 30 perpetrators were involved and the teenage victims had no chance to escape. One of the victims sustained a broken nose.

“The vast majority of people of Londonderry utterly condemn sectarian attacks,” he said.

“There is no place in our society for hate filled activity.

“A culture of fear and intimidation has been created by the perpetrators, who preyed on the innocent victims for purely sectarian reasons. A clear message has been sent out from the victims’ families that they want no retaliation.

“Many people are working hard to make the city a shared space and this has now created fear in young Protestants who have been socialising within the city in what should be a shared environment.”

Praising passersby who tried to help the victims, he said: “Thankfully some of the perpetrators have been identified and arrests made, hopefully this will discourage anymore of these acts of violence on our streets.

“Incidents like this puts further pressure on local community groups who work hard at encouraging young people to engage in cross community activity. The actions of these youths will not stop continued work across the city in securing a better and shared future for our young people.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has also strongly condemned the attack on the three young Protestant boys.

“It is sickening that these young innocent boys were so viciously assaulted. We must unite in expressing our disgust at, and rejection of, this attack and everything it represents,” he said.

“This attack highlights just how primitive and pernicious sectarianism is. It must have been a harrowing and distressing experience for the young boys and their families.

“Sectarianism is an evil in our community that needs to be stamped out.

“I appeal to anyone who saw or has any information about those responsible for this attack to fully cooperate with the police.”