Olympic torch diverted due to protest in Londonderry

POLITICIANS have condemned the disruption that broke out as the Olympic torch was carried through Londonderry yesterday.

• Condemnation after prisoner protest disrupts torch procession

Security will be tight as the Olympic Torch makes its way across Northern Ireland after the relay was disrupted following a dissident republican protest about the treatment of prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One man was arrested after minor scuffles with police as the flame was about to pass the peace bridge linking the divided communities in the city. Nobody was injured.

The torch was re-routed by about 100 yards.

SDLP MLA Mark Durkan said there had been an agreement not to disrupt the relay. The protest was not aimed at the torch, but shoving with stewards broke out and police intervened to push the crowd of around 100 - half of them children - back.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said several dissident republicans were involved. One man was arrested and there were no injuries.

Londonderry, where yesterday evening’s celebrations were held, has had problems with dissident republican violence and security was tight - an explosive was thrown at police in an attempted murder bid over the weekend. It will be UK City of Culture next year.

The bridge has been built between a disused army base on the shores of River Foyle in a predominantly unionist part of the city and the other, nationalist, side.

Today the relay will travel in a boat on an underground river through the Marble Arch Caves in Co Fermanagh.

It also visits Newry, Co Down, for an evening celebration at Esler Park Gaelic Athletic Association grounds before heading for Dublin on Wednesday.