Pipe bomb thrown at police in Derry

Youths remained at the bonfire site this morning
Youths remained at the bonfire site this morning

A security alert was sparked after a pipe bomb was thrown at police at the scene of a nationalist bonfire overnight.

The security alert ended just after 3am this morning.

Homes on Charlotte Street and Barrack Street were evacuated during the alert.

The police said the viable device was thrown at officers on the Lecky Road flyover in the city.

The bonfire, on the Lecky Road, near 'Free Derry Corner', had been monitored by police before it was set alight last night.

It was built to mark the Catholic feast day of the Assumption. 

However, other festivals had been organised in the city as an alternative to the bonfire.

Union flags and Sinn Fein election posters were placed on top of the fire, which reached a height of 20ft before being set alight.

The PSNI's District Commander Mark McEwan said: "We are investigating all offences committed at the bonfire in the Bogside last night including a serious incident where a viable pipe-bomb type device was thrown at a police patrol."

People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann told the Belfast Telegraph: "If we want to know why the young people involved are doing what they are doing, we have to listen rather than denounce and demonise.

"Young people see that bonfires in loyalist areas appear to be sacrosanct, even when, because of their size, they clearly pose a greater threat to homes and businesses than the Bogside bonfire.

"They conclude that they are being discriminated against and see those who condemn them as complicit in this discrimination."

A small group of youths remained at the bonfire site this morning and the police say they are continuing to monitor the situation.