'Hardcore' element rioting in Galliagh in Londonderry
A senior police officer has blamed a 'hardcore' element for rioting in Londonderry.
Chief Inspector Gary Eaton confirmed that up to 20 petrol bombs were thrown at his officers during trouble on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Community workers have claimed vandals have used a dispute over a bonfire as an excuse for the disturbances.
Police came under attack on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as violence flared in the Galliagh estate.
Chief Inspector Eaton said someone will be seriously injured or worse if the trouble continues.
"There is a small number of young people that are out on the streets late at night.
"They are hardcore and intent on causing havoc and disorder in their own community," he said.
End Quote Chief Inspector Gary Eaton
People are unable to leave their homes. The community is traumatised living in a state of anxiety”
"People are unable to leave their homes. The community is traumatised living in a state of anxiety.
"I would urge anyone with any influence to get this to stop.
"There has been arrests and there will be more arrests," he said.
Youths told BBC Radio Foyle that there was anger in the area after the authorities removed bonfire material that they had collected.
However, youth worker Martin Connolly said it was "anti-social vandalism".
During the disturbances, petrol bombs and other items were thrown at police in Moss Park, passing vehicles were attacked with stones while tyres, bins and piles of rubbish were set alight to block the Glengalliagh road.Internment
End Quote Raymond McCartney Sinn Fein MLA
There is absolutely no doubt that there are a number of anti-social elements who used the opportunity to simply visit wanton destruction and violence on the PSNI and on ordinary citizens”
On Friday night, power was cut to up to 3,000 people after youths set fire to bonfire material close to an electricity substation on Ferndale Road in Galliagh.
Mr Connolly said: "It's clearly been totally anti-social vandalism - no motive behind it all all - and people can use the excuse of a bonfire but it's got nothing to do with a bonfire.
"Some of the young people were as young a 11 and 12 years of age."
Youths in some nationalist areas have traditionally marked the anniversary of internment on 9 August by lighting bonfires and one 17-year-old boy told the BBC that the police had been attacked because they had helped local authorities to remove bonfire material from the estate.
"The Protestants are allowed to have their bonfire, but we're not allowed to have ours," the teenager said.'Wanton destruction'
Another youth told BBC Radio Foyle: "The only thing we can do during the summer is collect for a bonfire. After all our hard work, they go and take it, all the stuff."
However, Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said he had visited the area in recent nights and agreed with Mr Connolly that the violence was "opportunistic".
"There is absolutely no doubt that there are a number of anti-social elements who used the opportunity to simply visit wanton destruction and violence on the PSNI and on ordinary citizens driving through the Glengalliagh road, he said.
Mr McCartney added that people in the area would "not allow a small group of young people to dictate the agenda nor indeed to create some sort of perception that there's nothing for them to do.
"Irrespective of what they feel about what's in the area and what's not in the area, they should not be indulging themselves in wanton violence against the rest of the community," the Sinn Fein representative said.
Two men, aged 18 and 43, were arrested during disturbances in the area on Friday evening and have since been charged in relation to the trouble.