Northern Ireland

Extra police in Derry for Margaret Thatcher's funeral

A senior police officer has said extra resources will be brought in to Londonderry to deal with any violence in the city on Wednesday, the day of Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

There have been sectarian attacks by nationalist youths on residents in the mainly Protestant Fountain estate every night since her death.

A protest event is expected at Free Derry Corner after her funeral.

About 25 petrol bombs were thrown in the Fountain estate on Friday.

Police also came under attack. There was more trouble over the weekend.

Ch Supt Stephen Cargin said lives were being put at risk, and warned of the consequences for those involved in the violence.

"We have CCTV footage, we have gathered our own evidence and we're going to be coming looking for people," he said.

"If we see people breaking the law we will arrest them and certainly we will be coming looking for a lot of these young people and there will be consequences.

"I am concerned about Wednesday night, I am concerned about this planned party and I would just also support calls to call it off. I will have sufficient resources on in the city to react to whatever happens."

Community leaders from both sides have been meeting on Monday to discuss how to end the trouble.

Community worker Charlie McMenamin said they were on the ground to try and get the trouble stopped.

"It is not as bad as what it is being made out to be," he said.

"Children are involved in violence at the interface, children are involved in rioting in Nailor's Row and a lot of times also as community workers we have been face-to-face with a lot of children and stopped a lot of what happened over the weekend."

William Jackson, who lives in the estate, said the parents of those responsible need to do something.

Concern

"Considering that some of these children are aged 10, they must be going into the house smelling of petrol, smoke, so why are their parents not asking questions?" he asked.

"We're just now waiting to see what's going to happen on Wednesday when the funeral takes place, that's where our fear is now at this minute in time."

DUP councillor Gary Middleton called on those with influence to intervene.

"What I'm looking for is assurance and hopefully maybe from the organisers that they can call this event off on Wednesday because there is a party planned to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's funeral," he said.

"I think that should be called off because the violence we have seen up to now has been unacceptable."

Sinn Fein councillor Patricia Logue said there had been "complete mayhem" in recent nights.

"The only people who have suffered are the people of the area. There has been a lot of destruction, there has been young people running around with petrol bombs, and somebody is going to get very badly hurt," she said.

"There is no excuse for any young people to be involved in this kind of behaviour."

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