‘Recreational’ riots in Derry
‘Recreational’ riots in Derry

Clashes erupted last night between local youths and the PSNI police as they entered republican areas at the close of polling in Thursday’s election.

Derry’s newly-elected Sinn Féin mayor Gerry O hEara has condemned the almost traditional eruption of violence, which he said may have been provoked by the heavy PSNI presence.

He said the rioting had become like a ritual in the city during election time, both claimed those involved were not political.

Mr O hEara said: “I think we have to look at the need for the amount of PSNI people about these polling stations because in my opinion the need doesn`t exist any more.

“There’s no threat to staff and I think young people attack the PSNI jeeps when they see them.”

Polling stations in the Shantallow and Ballymagroarty districts of the city were the focus for the clashes. Petrol bombs were also thrown in the Creggan area.

Incredibly, police chiefs had claimed a presence was needed in the city after similar violence flared during last November’s elections to the Belfast Assembly.

Mr O hEara said private security firms should instead be brought in to normalise the election process.

“Everybody who works in the electoral office knows part of the problem is the high profile PSNI presence,” he said.

“These young people aren’t political, it’s just recreational.”

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