31/01/2011

Lurgan Blighted By Weekend Violence

The PSNI came under what has been described as a "sustained attack" in Lurgan at the weekend after being lured into the area following the discovery of an elaborate hoax device.

Chief Inspector Ken Mawhinney, Area Commander said that his officers had fired a single baton round which struck a teenager in the lower leg in response after police vehicles were damaged during the rioting which lasted three-and-a-half hours.

Lurgan Ulster Unionist Councillor Jo-Anne Dobson has hit out at those behind the disturbances in the town.

Mrs Dobson, who is also an Ulster Unionist candidate in the Assembly election said: "Local people have had their lives disrupted, the travelling public have been inconvenienced and police officers have had to face a sustained assault from youths throwing petrol bombs and other missiles.

"As a local councillor I know full well that the vast majority of the people of Lurgan want nothing to do with any of this.
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"Hoax bombs and rioters are a throw-back to the bad old days and it is vital that the community stands together and assists the Police to identify and arrest those who seek to terrorise local people and assert dominance over their areas," she said.

Her comments came after the police were informed of a suspicious object in the Lake Street area on Saturday.

However, within five minutes of setting up a security cordon, they were attacked with stones, petrol bombs, paint bombs and fireworks.

Around 34 petrol bombs were thrown at officers in what he described as "orchestrated violence".

The device was eventually declared an elaborate hoax with the SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly saying that people in north Lurgan are "sick, sore and tired" of security incidents and alerts caused by dissidents.

"The people of the area are weary beyond words and absolutely furious with this planned and orchestrated disruption by tiny groups who can't even put a coherent statement of their aims together."

(BMcC/GK)

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