republican march | 

Police come under attack from petrol bombs at Saoradh parade in Derry as six arrested

Calls were made ahead of the parade for it to be cancelled as it clashed with the third anniversary of murder of Lyra McKee

Six arrests have been made during Saoradh’s National Republican Commemoration march in Derry city on Monday, after police officers came under attack from petrol bombs.

Five men aged 29, 38, 40, 50 and 54 years old, were arrested under the Terrorism Act. A sixth, aged 40, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.

The missiles were thrown at police Land Rovers, which were seen going up in flames before attempting to drive away, which were stationed outside the city cemetery after the Easter parade on Monday.

Officers were later seen making a number of arrests. The PSNI have been asked for comment.

Crowds had gathered in the city for the parade despite calls for it to be rescheduled because it was set to take place on the 3rd anniversary of journalist Lyra McKee’s murder in Derry.

There was a heavy PSNI presence throughout the proceedings, and police were pictured making arrests near the end of the event.

The parade took off from around Free Derry Corner around 3pm and arrived in the city cemetery shortly after 3.30pm, where wreaths were to be laid on the republican plot.

The New IRA’s political wing had previously warned of the potential for “conflict” at the ‘Unfinished Revolution National Easter Commemoration’.

It said that any responsibility for “any conflict will rest with the aggressors in the crown forces”.

The group added: “We call on all republicans to stand with the [commemoration committee] on Easter Monday at Free Derry Corner and defend the right to be a republican while holding a dignified Easter commemoration.”

Saoradh held the parade on the same day as the Ms McKee’s murder three years ago.

It is thought that at least 2,000 people were in attendance, between marchers and those following the parade.

Men and women marching in the parade wore black, with masks covering their face up to their eyes. Many carried flags, including the tricolour and the flag of Ulster.

The Parades Commission had ordered participants not to wear any paramilitary-style clothing after a complaint by the late writer’s family.

Derry & Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson said: “Earlier today, police were in attendance at a notified parade in the city. On the basis of initial observations, 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.

“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 enquiries will continue over the coming days and weeks to bring offenders to justice.”

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