What You Need To Know:
Thursday afternoon, in the Derry housing estate of Creggan, Northern Ireland, personnel from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit (TIU) undertook searches of three homes as part of an ongoing terror probe. Public discontent with the raids escalated into small-scale riots in Creevagh Heights, with the public making use of petrol bombs, rocks, and steel poles to throw at the Police’s armoured vehicles. One officer was struck in the head, although it is unclear if the injury is serious.
— Paddy Moran (@PaddyMoran12) September 7, 2023
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDLP), Colum Eastwood said, “Those who want to bring violence back to our community for their own ends have nothing to offer and have been rejected by the people of Derry and Ireland.”
Additionally, the city’s official name is ‘Londonderry’ with the city council attempting in 1984 to change its name to ‘Derry.’ In 2007, a British high court judgment stated that the name could only be changed through legislation or royal prerogative, a move which angered locals who have continued to refer to the city as Derry.
Furthermore, Derry is no stranger to social and sectarian tensions, with the first instance occurring in 1641 during which thousands of protestant rebels were massacred by Catholics. Sectarian violence reached a peak throughout the troubles (60’s-90’s), with the ‘battle of the Bogside’ (12-14 August 1969) often referred to as one of the first incidents of widespread violence in Northern Ireland, and attributed by some as a leading cause of the thirty years of Irish civil unrest which followed. The three-day riot involved Catholic/Irish nationalists of the Derry Citizens Defence Association, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and Loyalists who supported Ireland as part of the United Kingdom, and resulted in over 1,000 injuries. The British Army deployed to the area on the 14th, during which the Bogside became a no-go zone and was informally renamed ‘Free Derry.’
In the current day, Derry police still face pushback from the civilians of the area, particularly young people, with “large crowds including masked youths” attacking around a dozen riot police during the searches.