POLICE in Northern Ireland have called for calm in Derry after a night of unrest and disorder in the city’s Galliagh area.
A spate of “worrying” incidents took place from around 6pm and went on into the early hours of this morning, the PSNI have confirmed today.
At around 5.50pm, a bus on Upper Galliagh Road had a window damaged after a brick was thrown at it.
Later, at around 7.15pm, petrol bombs were thrown towards a bus parked on the grounds of a community centre in Bracken Park.
At around the same time a group of young people attempted to set a van on fire that was parked at a local playschool.
At 8pm a delivery driver’s van was attacked by two masked men in Knockalla Park. Elsewhere during the night, a driver was dragged from his vehicle in Galliagh Park. He was hit on the head and had his car set on fire.
The incidents went on throughout yesterday evening, with bins, tyres and pallets dragged onto roads in Galliagh and set on fire.
The disorder was sparked by the removal of wood and pallets from a bonfire site in Galliagh earlier in the day yesterday.
The site is the location for an annual nationalist bonfire which takes place on August 15 and it is reported that young people in the area had been collecting the bonfire material for several months.
Police are investigating each of the incidents that occurred last night and have appealed for anyone with information or footage of the disorder to make contact with them.
Speaking today, Derry City & Strabane Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard said: “What we saw unfold in Galliagh from late yesterday through to the early hours of this morning was both disappointing and worrying.
“We saw damage to community property, including attempts to burn a community bus and damage to a local business delivery van.
“Most seriously, a local man had his vehicle hijacked and set on fire, while he was also assaulted and left badly shaken-up.”
He added: “This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by all.
“Attacking and damaging vehicles and properties only serves damage the community. It is wrong.
“We appeal for calm so there is no repeat of this disorder. We will have our officers on the ground this evening and for the next few days to respond to incidents.”