13 July 2018
Democratic Unionist Foyle MLA Gary Middleton said,
“These are the most disturbing and troubling scenes that Londonderry has witnessed for years. With burning barricades being erected, parts of the Bogside were akin to the no-go areas of the 70s. Not only were children being used by faceless sinister elements but some adults stood as spectators whilst young people hurled petrol bombs and other objects at the police.
In the midst of this mayhem, I commend those community workers in the Bogside who are trying to keep as many young people off the streets as possible.
I have assured the rank and file police officers of our support. With improvised explosive devices being thrown, these officers are risking life and limb to restore order. It is incumbent upon all community leaders to support these front line police officers.
The decision to use baton rounds was right and proportionate. I welcome the arrests made. I condemn the faceless people who are manipulating this violence. Whatever their dissatisfaction with their current political leaders, the goal of their rioting is pointless. They are destroying their own community infrastructure. Ordinary people coming home from a day’s work were having their vehicles attacked.
I understand that with the risk of further gunfire, police tactics have to include caution but I have encouraged the police to make more arrests and whatever appropriate means needed should be used to protect officers and bring an end to the rioting.
We need to tackle this violence. It is absolute madness.”