Hundreds of local people last night joined political and religious leaders at a major rally on the streets where violence has erupted over the past week.
Local leaders and political parties swept their difference to one side as they stood united in their condemnation of the shocking sequence of events that have unfolded in the Bogside and Fountain areas.
The rally, organised by the Unity of Purpose group and local people living in the area, was held at the junction of Butcher’s Gate and Fahan Street on Friday night following six consecutive evenings of disturbances during which over 100 petrol bombs, blast bombs and other missiles were hurled by gangs, shots were fired and moving vehicles targeted.
In a statement issued by Unity of Purpose, which consists of political leaders, public service providers, private business, communities and churches, said they had come together with one common goal – helping to build a safe and secure future for our people.
“The recent violent behaviour we have seen against the people in the Fountain, the people in the Bogside and against the PSNI is not representative of this city as a whole, we are better than this,” they said.
“It is clear that some of the young people who are involved in this criminal activity are unaware of the consequences of their actions and are being misled by adults with more sinister agendas.
“This violence is putting lives at risk and together we feel we need to stop this now before someone is seriously hurt or a life is lost.
“We plead with people from all sides of our community to come together with us and tell these people this activity will not be tolerated and it is not in our name. They cannot and will not succeed.”
The Unity of Purpose Group said it was vital people took a stand “to reiterate our city’s shared, positive opposition to ongoing events centred around the Bogside/Fountain areas of the city”.