THOSE claiming to be involved in a riot that saw a burning barricade placed across one of the main roads in Banbridge have been bragging about their actions on Facebook with the tagline ‘Up the Hoods’.
A crowd of up to 50 people threw stones, bricks and bottles at police and fire crews last Wednesday night when the emergency services attended the scene and there has been condemnation from across the district following the trouble.
Five people have been arrested since the incident, including two teenage girls. The 15 and 16 year-olds will appear in court on August 20.
A 22-year-old man appeared in court last Friday charged with riotous behaviour and attempted criminal damage. Stephen McPolin of Edenderry Park was remanded in custody to Maghaberry prison and will appear again on Thursday.
A 21-year-old man is due in court on August 30, while a 28-year-old man was arrested and released on bail pending further enquiries.
While it was thought the bonfire, first lit at a disused factory at Brookfield earlier in the evening followed by a burning barricade across the Scarva Road, was in memory of the introduction of internment 41 years ago, a local Sinn Fein councillor said this was not the case.
Brendan Curran said, “Those responsible for this thuggery attempted to create cover for their actions by staging this stunt on the eve of the anniversary of Internment.
“Let me state quite clearly, there was no political motivation behind this violence. The Republican agenda is about building the future not about living in or attempting to recreate the past.”
A number of comments have been seen on Facebook which seem to brag about the night’s events.
One person commented, “What a night, will be a night to remember. UTH.”
Another comment was posted on a young girl’s page saying, “Hard night’s work last night? Lol you mad wee f****r making the papers and all.”
On that same page the comment “F*** the cops. there nothing but f*****g skums!” (sic) is posted.
Police investigations into the riot continue.
Neighbourhood Inspector Jackie Gillespie said she was disappointed by the actions of those involved.
“I can assure the local community we will not falter in our efforts to ensure that those responsible will be brought to justice.”