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Shocking video shows the moment violent thugs threw petrol bombs at a police van in Londonderry following a string of republican Easter marches across Northern Ireland at the weekend – as officers in the British province arrested seven men under counter-terrorism laws.

Video filmed by Irish News journalist Connla Young shows a PSNI police van being petrol bombed at the City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road yesterday, before it then drove off. Other clips posted on Twitter on Monday showed the same scene from a different angle, with angry social media users branding the mob of jeering thugs ‘scumbags’.  

Police in Northern Ireland arrested six men aged between 29 and 54 under the Terrorism Act, and a seventh man on suspicion of disorderly behaviour. Officers also seized number of vehicles, paramilitary-style uniforms and petrol bombs.  

Derry and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson called the attack ‘premeditated’ and accused activists of ‘using, encouraging and cheering along’ the young thugs ‘to attack the police’. 

The shocking violence broke out following a republican parade to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising in Derry, which was connected to the anti-agreement party Saoradh – itself accused of having links with the extremist self-styled New IRA group.

Republican activists marched from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, before a masked man told the crowd: ‘We are here to stay’ to applause. The Irish national anthem was then played on the anniversary of the uprising. Later, a message was also read from republican prisoners at jails in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Meanwhile in Belfast, huge crowds took part in Easter commemorations to mark 106 years since the 1916 Rising. In an address at the Milltown Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald reiterated her calls for Irish unity, telling unionsts: ‘British government after British government has disrespected and failed you, time and again. 

‘Walk this journey with us. This is the decade of opportunity where we have the freedom to determine our future. There is so much to gain.’  

The large republican rallies also coincided as vigils were held in Belfast and Derry to mark the third anniversary of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, who tragically died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on April 18, 2019. The New IRA later claimed responsibility for the killing.

Her family last night voiced their disgust that the parade had been allowed to go ahead, with Miss McKee’s sister Nichola Corner questioning why the event could not have been held on a different day, pointing out the date of Easter changes every year. 

Video filmed by Irish News journalist Connla Young shows petrol bombs being hurled at a PSNI police van at the City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road yesterday, before it then drove off

Video filmed by Irish News journalist Connla Young shows petrol bombs being hurled at a PSNI police van at the City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road yesterday, before it then drove off

Video filmed by Irish News journalist Connla Young shows petrol bombs being hurled at a PSNI police van at the City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road yesterday, before it then drove off

Other clips posted on Twitter showed the same scene from a different angle, with social media users branding the jeering thugs 'scumbags'

Other clips posted on Twitter showed the same scene from a different angle, with social media users branding the jeering thugs 'scumbags'

Other clips posted on Twitter showed the same scene from a different angle, with social media users branding the jeering thugs ‘scumbags’

Shocking video shows the moment violent thugs threw a petrol bomb at a police van in Londonderry

Shocking video shows the moment violent thugs threw a petrol bomb at a police van in Londonderry

Shocking video shows the moment violent thugs threw a petrol bomb at a police van in Londonderry

Saoradh Colour Party marches from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, as part of an event to mark the 1916 Easter Rising, April 18, 2022

Saoradh Colour Party marches from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, as part of an event to mark the 1916 Easter Rising, April 18, 2022

Saoradh Colour Party marches from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, as part of an event to mark the 1916 Easter Rising, April 18, 2022

Fergal Melaugh (left), Dee Fennell (centre) and Thomas Ash Mellon join Saoradh Colour Party as they march from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, Monday April 18, 2022

Fergal Melaugh (left), Dee Fennell (centre) and Thomas Ash Mellon join Saoradh Colour Party as they march from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, Monday April 18, 2022

Fergal Melaugh (left), Dee Fennell (centre) and Thomas Ash Mellon join Saoradh Colour Party as they march from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry, Monday April 18, 2022

Lyra McKee's sisters' Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Miss McKee's partner Sara Canning (centre) during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee's murder, Monday April 18, 2022

Lyra McKee's sisters' Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Miss McKee's partner Sara Canning (centre) during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee's murder, Monday April 18, 2022

Lyra McKee’s sisters’ Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Miss McKee’s partner Sara Canning (centre) during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder, Monday April 18, 2022

Republican activists marched from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry. Video shows a PSNI police van then being petrol bombed by thugs on Lone Moor Road next to the City Cemetery

Republican activists marched from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry. Video shows a PSNI police van then being petrol bombed by thugs on Lone Moor Road next to the City Cemetery

Republican activists marched from Free Derry corner to the City Cemetery in Londonderry. Video shows a PSNI police van then being petrol bombed by thugs on Lone Moor Road next to the City Cemetery

Lyra McKee’s life and death three years on 

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA at a riot in the Creggan area of Londonderry in April 2019

Lyra McKee was a gay rights activist and an articulate advocate of a new and more tolerant Northern Ireland and part of the generation which reached adulthood during peace time. She wrote for publications including Private Eye and Buzzfeed.

The 29-year-old journalist died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on April 18, 2019. An extremist group styling itself the New IRA later claimed responsibility for the killing. 

Miss McKee’s funeral was attended by then prime minister Theresa May, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish President Michael D Higgins at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians.

Days later the British and Irish governments announced a new talks process aimed at restoring devolution.

At a vigil in Derry on Monday, her sister Nichola Corner said that her family are still waiting for justice.

‘Three years ago our sister Lyra McKee was murdered here in this city, and still three years on, we are waiting for justice for Lyra, the person who pulled the trigger of the gun that led to her death still walks these streets, and while they walk these streets, these streets will not be safe for the people of this city,’ she said.

‘We appeal to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for our sisters’ death, we appeal to them to come forward. It’s never too late.

‘We want to thank all the people who have come to honour Lyra and to remember her as a journalist, as a human being and as a person who loved this city. We hope that you’ll continue to keep Lyra in your hearts and in your minds in a very dignified way.’

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‘When we objected to this parade taking place, it was on the grounds of the date alone, not on the grounds of marching,’ she said.

‘Had they marched on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, we wouldn’t have cared. It is insulting to go forth on Lyra’s anniversary, to do a parade of this nature honouring other dead. It’s in really bad taste.’

Miss McKee’s partner Sara Canning added: ‘We’re here to honour someone we loved, and they’re there to honour people who died 106 years ago. That’s my personal take on it and why I think it’s in such bad taste.’

The Unfinished Revolution National Easter Commemoration parade ended at Derry City Cemetery where an address was heard. 

Ch Sup Henderson said participants in the parade were assessed as having potentially committed criminal offences.

‘Police monitored the event closely and, at what was considered to be an appropriate point, took action to secure evidence and make arrests,’ he said. ‘Whilst doing so, police officers came under attack from petrol bombs and masonry.

‘Our officers showed tremendous courage and professionalism in what was still clearly a dangerous situation.

‘Fortunately, none of our officers, or members of the public were injured as a result of this reckless and criminal behaviour. Our inquiries will continue over the coming days and weeks to bring offenders to justice.’

Today, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood blasted the scenes in Derry at an Easter rally as ‘disgusting’ and said the republican commemoration ‘shouldn’t have taken place’. 

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster, the Foyle MP said the people of the city ‘totally and utterly reject this stuff and the people carrying it out’.

‘They have no support whatsoever. The idea these people thought this was a good idea on the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder is really revolting,’ Mr Eastwood said.

‘It just shows they don’t care about anybody other than their own twisted ideology. It isn’t surprising these people would do this, we know what they are like, we know who they are.

‘I think there is always going to be a very small level of support for these people the way to beat them is to show politics and democracy works.

‘It is longer, it is more difficult, but that is the job we have to do to turn around our society. There is absolutely no excuse for any of this.’

Yesterday vigils were held in memory of Miss McKee in Belfast and Londonderry, the third anniversary of her death.

Her friends and family visited the spot at Fanad Drive in Derry where she died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the area three years ago. No one has yet been convicted of her murder. 

Miss Corner told the vigil in Derry that her family are still waiting for justice.

‘Three years ago our sister Lyra McKee was murdered here in this city, and still three years on, we are waiting for justice for Lyra, the person who pulled the trigger of the gun that led to her death still walks these streets, and while they walk these streets, these streets will not be safe for the people of this city,’ she said.

‘We appeal to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for our sisters’ death, we appeal to them to come forward. It’s never too late.

‘We want to thank all the people who have come to honour Lyra and to remember her as a journalist, as a human being and as a person who loved this city. We hope that you’ll continue to keep Lyra in your hearts and in your minds in a very dignified way.’

In Belfast, a new banner in memory of Miss McKee was unveiled on the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral where then Prime Minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish president Michael D Higgins were among those who attended her funeral in 2019.

Police have also made a fresh appeal for information to bring those responsible for Miss McKee’s murder to justice.

Detectives said they have made 30 arrests and nine people have been charged, three with murder and six with public order offences, in relation to the shooting of the author. 

Youths pictured with petrol bombs in Creggan, Derry, following reports of petrol bombs being thrown at PSNI vehicles, after the 1916 Easter Rising commemoration, April 18, 2022

Youths pictured with petrol bombs in Creggan, Derry, following reports of petrol bombs being thrown at PSNI vehicles, after the 1916 Easter Rising commemoration, April 18, 2022

Youths pictured with petrol bombs in Creggan, Derry, following reports of petrol bombs being thrown at PSNI vehicles, after the 1916 Easter Rising commemoration, April 18, 2022

Saoradh Colour Party spokesperson Patrick Gallager speaking at the City Cemetery in Londonderry

Saoradh Colour Party spokesperson Patrick Gallager speaking at the City Cemetery in Londonderry

Shannon Jordan speaking on behalf of republican prisoners to Saoradh Colour Party at the City Cemetery in Londonderry

Shannon Jordan speaking on behalf of republican prisoners to Saoradh Colour Party at the City Cemetery in Londonderry

Saoradh Colour Party spokesperson Patrick Gallager (left) and Shannon Jordan (right) speaking at the City Cemetery in Londonderry, Monday April 18, 2022

Lyra McKee's sisters Joan Hunter (centre-right), Nichola Corner (right) and family embrace on Fanad Drive in Derry after Fr Joesph Gormley (not pictured) said prayers on Fanad Drive in Derry

Lyra McKee's sisters Joan Hunter (centre-right), Nichola Corner (right) and family embrace on Fanad Drive in Derry after Fr Joesph Gormley (not pictured) said prayers on Fanad Drive in Derry

Lyra McKee’s sisters Joan Hunter (centre-right), Nichola Corner (right) and family embrace on Fanad Drive in Derry after Fr Joesph Gormley (not pictured) said prayers on Fanad Drive in Derry

Family and friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee stand together after laying wreaths on Fanad Drive in Derry

Family and friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee stand together after laying wreaths on Fanad Drive in Derry

Family and friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee stand together after laying wreaths on Fanad Drive in Derry

Meanwhile across the border, the 1916 Rising – which prompted a series of events leading to the independence of Ireland – was marked in Dublin.

Irish President Michael D Higgins led the commemorations of the Easter Rising in a military ceremony outside the GPO on O’Connell Street in the capital, one of the main sites of the rebellion against British rule in 1916. It was the first public event to mark the uprising since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mr Higgins laid a wreath during the ceremony, which began at midday on Sunday.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney also attended the event as well as Defence Forces members, a brass band, and representatives of the Air Corps and the Naval Service.

The commemoration involved prayers of remembrance, and the Proclamation was read by Commandant Daire Roache, from Ballina, Co Mayo.

The Irish flag was lowered to half mast during the ceremony and Private Vincent Murray, of the 27th Infantry Battalion, played a lament outside the GPO. Relatives of former Irish presidents and family members of the 1916 signatories were also in attendance.

The planned flypast by the Irish Air Corps was cancelled due to the weather.

The southern 26 counties in Ireland went on to become independent of British rule in 1922, and later became a republic in 1949 while the northern six counties remain part of the United Kingdom.

Source: Daily Mail

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