Britain’s ‘dirty tricks’ department has been accused of planting bogus devices at Derry city cemetery in order to attract international condemnation for the New IRA.
Following days of manoeuvres by British Army and police, tensions were high in the city ahead of Monday’s Easter commemoration in Derry, which had been ruled ‘illegal’.
Disturbances broke out as a deployment of PSNI armoured vehicles triggered a predictable response from local youths.
One PSNI vehicle carrying a spy camera was hit several times with petrol bombs by local youths who forced the vehicle to withdraw.
The level of violence was much less than for the same parade last year, when the PSNI mounted snatch-and-grab operations against parade participants, resulting in heavy rioting.
But a disturbing twist this year saw the PSNI desecrate the City Cemetery, scattering and trampling flowers and funeral wreaths around the grounds, to the outrage of mourners and local residents.
The PSNI were then accused of staging a 1980s-style ‘black op’ by claiming to have found live pipe bombs in a bed of trampled Easter lilies.
It was absurdly suggested that the devices were to be used for a New IRA attack to mark the visit of US President Joe Biden. The claims fell short on credibility and failed to bring the ringing condemnations which they might have hoped for.
The organising Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee described the apparent stunt as “the dark hand of MI5”.
“We state clearly that these were put there by elements of the Crown Forces,” they said.
“The same elements who ransacked the cemetery upturned waste baskets, scattered flowers and wreaths all over the ground; just the same as they ransack Republicans homes.”
They stated that “from day one” they had planned on holding a dignified commemoration and that there was “no need” for the presence of Crown Force personnel.
“In fact, we stated that if they were present this would lead to conflict. We were proved correct,” they said.
“For weeks before the commemoration the British Crown Forces invaded, searched and ransacked homes and arrested Republicans. They followed this with highly contentious statements in an attempt to intimidate people not to attend the commemoration. They failed.”
“On the day itself, we saw the Republican youth of Derry protect the colour party so as the Crown Forces could not follow on from last years Easter Commemoration where they attacked people in the cemetery. To suggest anything else is nothing more than a lie peddled by those self important statelet supporters who know nothing about our community.”
They also called on nationalists and “former republicans” to condemn the actions of the PSNI and highlighted the aggressive ‘two-tier’ policing in Derry compared with events in other areas.
“Once again the British Crown Forces have shown utter contempt for our community, and shown for the world to see they are the occupiers who try to stand with their boot on our neck,” they said.