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Children ‘even as young as six involved in trouble’

Children ‘even as young as six involved in trouble’

BBC

Police attended the Creggan area of ​​the city to attend a rescue following a sudden death

Police say children as young as six were involved in the riots in the Creggan area of ​​Londonderry.

Petrol bombs, rocks and fireworks were thrown at officers during a security alert on Southway on Tuesday evening.

It all started when police responding to a sudden death in nearby Magowan Park found a suspicious device that was later determined to be an elaborate hoax.

Derry’s most senior police officer, Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney, described the issue as “nonsense”.

PSNI Inspector Gillian Kearney said the troubles were pointless

A 36-year-old man arrested on Tuesday has been charged with inciting a riot, destroying property and disturbing public order.

He is due to appear before Londonderry District Court on Thursday.

“The disorder that occurred while officers were dealing with such a sensitive matter is disgraceful,” Inspector Kearney said.

“We have received reports of children aged six and seven being involved in this incident.

“This is a crime of child exploitation.

“It will also cause harm to local communities and divert our resources from addressing the issues that matter most to us.”

Police said those involved in the incident left the area around midnight.

There were no reports of injuries. Some police vehicles were damaged.

‘Shameful’

The Bishop of Derry, the Most Reverend Donal McKeown, said the riots had deepened the family’s grief.

“It’s a shame because someone has died, they have friends and relatives and the last thing they want outside their home is someone who’s causing trouble,” Bishop McKeown told BBC News NI.

“They want to be treated with compassion, they want their death to be treated with respect.

“They want the place to be peaceful so they can deal with the death of the deceased and allow them to grieve in peace.

“These types of problems only increase their difficulties and pain.”

Bishop McKeown said the reports of young children being involved were “disturbing” and appealed to “parents, families and communities to ensure our young people are looked after”.

Police say several police vehicles were damaged

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood condemned the attack on police.

“It is particularly distressing to hear that children may have been involved, risking their futures by recklessly attacking police Land Rovers,” he said.

Appealing for calm, Mr Foyle said that “this is not what the people of Derry want”.

“And none of us want kids to waste their opportunities by getting involved in this,” he said.

Children were “exploited”

Foyle Democratic Unionist Party assemblyman Gary Middleton said the reports of young children being involved were “beyond belief”.

Six-year-olds, he said, “shouldn’t come prepared with petrol bombs and fireworks.”

“They were exploited and abused by people from that area who had no value for the lives of children and the police officers they attacked,” he said.

“This was a disgraceful attack on police officers who work on behalf of the entire community to keep us safe.”

Stones and petrol bombs were thrown at police cars on Southway

“Anger in the local community”

Chief Superintendent Kearney said officers would not be deterred from carrying out their duties.

“We know from the day-to-day work of our officers that what happened last night has caused anger in the local community and the wider area,” she said.

“I want to assure the community that my officers will be working today to take drugs off the streets, respond to domestic violence calls and protect communities from those who seek to harm our most vulnerable.”

Police have asked anyone with any information to contact them.