Video: Show of force in commemoration of hunger strikers “must be investigated”
The PSNI said it had launched a full investigation into “shameful scenes” of paramilitary show of force at a commemoration of hunger strikers in Derry.
Video footage of masked men firing shots in the air in Fern Park on Friday was shared widely on social media.
It was part of a commemoration to mark the 40th birthday of Mickey Devine, INLA volunteer and Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) activist, who died on August 20, 1981 after a 60-day hunger strike.
The footage showed a group of masked men walking towards a mural in memory of Mr. Devine, where two of them, carrying what appeared to be guns, fired several shots into the air before the group does not move away.
The footage was condemned by the Ulster Unionist Party, with Councilor Darren Guy saying such acts “should be relegated to the past” and called on the PSNI “to step up efforts against these criminal gangs to remove such weapons”.
“It is disgusting that these types of acts are allowed to continue in Londonderry. Glorification of terrorism is always wrong and this show of force by the INLA is a direct insult to the families of its many innocent victims.
“The only reason these criminals have guns is to fuel their empire building, to put pressure on their own communities, and to instill fear within those communities.”
UUP leader Doug Beattie had called for a “full investigation” claiming that the PSNI “used the term” appear to be firearms “because the weapons appear to run on gas and fire blanks, without no empty holster is ejected. Also, the sound does not. seems to be that of a high speed weapon. “
“No matter how genuine the guns are, there is no place for them in society. They are men of yesterday – drug traffickers, pimps, extortionists and petty criminals. No one should ever consider them. provide any support or consider them as any freedom fighter.
“They restrict freedom, they have their own community’s boot on their shoulders and should be seen as a disgrace for nationalism.”
Superintendent Catherine Magee said last night officers were reviewing what had happened.
“I acknowledge the public’s concern over the shameful scenes in Derry / Londonderry on Friday night and I want to assure the local community that a full investigation into this incident is underway.
“My job is to keep people safe and I will continue to work alongside local representatives, partner agencies and the community to combat all criminal activity and bring those who break the law to court.”
She asked anyone with information to contact detectives on 101, citing reference number 2840 of 08/20/21 or on the online report form www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.