Vehicles were hijacked and burned and the PSNI were attacked with petrol and paint bombs in three nights of disturbances in Derry this week following brutal police raids in the city.
There was trouble in the Galliagh, Creggan and Glenowen areas, and at least five vehicles were set on fire, including a bus, a postal van and a delivery van.
Sporadic clashes took place over several hours in Galliagh on Wednesday following a bomb alert in the area. Petrol, paint bombs and other missiles were thrown at PSNI armoured vehicles, while a van and a recovery truck sent into the area were hijacked and burned out.
Tensions had reached boiling point in republican areas of the city following a series of extreme police violence. In a chaotic and brutal raid on Monday, a child with autism was among those beaten and arrested by the PSNI.
A brother described the abuse in a Facebook post. He wrote: “I was handcuffed at the bottom of the stairs after being beaten for trying to go to the bathroom. I heard screaming from upstairs and looked up to see my 14 year old autistic brother literally being picked up and body slammed onto the ground.
“One officer held his neck and the other knelt on his back. Imagine how it felt to a 14-year-old child with sensory issues when two grown men put their full weight on him.”
He added: “To every person out there who talks about the radicalisation of children against the PSNI/RUC, they are literally doing the radicalisation themselves, through their own actions.
“I have spent the last 13 years of my life since I was a pre-teen being followed, taunted and harassed by the PSNI. Today felt like a culmination of all the abuse over all the years.
“I accepted that it was normal, that it was how I was expected to live my life despite never having done anything wrong.
“I refuse to accept the same for my brother. It’s time people had the b*lls to rock the boat and admit that the glorious PSNI aren’t reformed at all. Our revenge can’t be in the laughter of our children when our children are being abused.”
The PSNI said they had arrested a 14-year-old with autism but that the boy had been released shortly afterwards.
Sinn Féin Assembly member Karen Mullan said a party delegation would be raising their concerns about the incident. But colleague Martina Anderson condemned the disturbances and insisted they were “wrong”.
“This serves no purpose other than destroying people’s livelihoods and causing major disruption to people living in the local community, particularly those waiting on parcels,” she said on Tuesday.
“It’s even more disgraceful that these attacks have taken place while the city mourns on the eve of the funeral of John Hume.”