Amid rapidly escalating tensions in Derry, three hoax bomb alerts have taken place, with two of them directed at the homes of members of the PSNI police and their parents.
The alerts resulted in lengthy evacuations in the nationalist Creggan and Shantallow areas.
Another PSNI operation to deal with an alert near the Lecky Road flyover ended in a mini-riot by republican youths, who threw petrol bombs and fireworks.
Local PSNI chief Gordon McCalmont urged nationalists to pass information against those responsible for the hoaxes, who he said had “disrupted everyday life”.
The hoaxes follow violent police raids against the family homes of republicans in the city.
On Tuesday, the republican party Saoradh held a protest outside the main office of Sinn Fein in the city, accusing it of complicity in a violent crackdown by British state forces.
They pointed to the use of sledgehammers, saws and battering rams to force entry into the homes of those linked to Saoradh last week. One man received a broken wrist in a PSNI assault after they bludgeoned their way into his family’s home and then questioned and searched his children.
One of the victims, Cliodhna McCool, later wrote: “My mammy wasn’t allowed to get dressed or even make a cup of tea in her own home. She was forced to watch as her home was destroyed, husband was seized and children abused in their own home by smirking RUC scumbags.
“She had to endure electronic scanners being used on her and was placed under house arrest. Me and my sister weren’t even allowed into the house to see if she was ok.
“Our friends and neighbours who rallied and arrived at the scene were also targeted with one himself being arrested and charged when he challenged them.”
Sinn Fein has backed increased police action “on the ground” against militant republicans, but have also condemned the violent nature of the police raids. They also condemned the subsequent hoax alerts which they said had disrupted daily life and deterred tourists.
Sinn Fein representative Councillor Michael Cooper said: “This is the last thing our City needs with the Jazz Festival on and the Bank Holiday weekend.”
Sinn Fein assembly member Raymond McCartney also said those behind the alerts should “get off the backs of the people.” He added: “It is pensioners, young families, children, carers who are bearing the brunt of these actions”.