Suspicious device discovered at cemetery following republican Easter event

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A public safety operation is under way at a cemetery in Londonderry where an Easter Monday republican commemoration was staged, police have said.

Derry’s City Cemetery was closed to visitors on Tuesday morning as officers examined the scene.

The PSNI said a suspicious device was found inside the grounds of the cemetery at 6.30am.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard said: “We fully understand the level of concern and anger in relation to this, but we have absolutely no option but to take this action.

“Public safety is our priority, and we will never take any chances when it comes to protecting people and communities.

“This suspicious device is located in the same area where participants in yesterday’s un-notified Easter parade took cover under umbrellas and removed the paramilitary-style clothing they wore, and burnt them.

“A cemetery is where people pay their respects in memory of their loved ones.

“This callous and provocative move flies in the face of that. It is appalling.”

Hijacking at Waterside Police Station in London Derry
Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard said public safety was the priority as his officers carried out an operation at the City Cemetery in Londonderry (Liam McBurney/PA)

“However, I cannot stress enough that public safety is our priority and I want to thank the community for their support.”

The cemetery is currently accessible to facilitate burials only.

Two robots, usually deployed to examine suspicious objects, were seen moving within the site.

Derry Easter Commemoration parade
Robots examine the scene at Derry City Cemetery (Liam McBurney/PA).

The operation was undertaken a day after the republican event at the cemetery.

Prior to the event at the republican plot in the cemetery, there were scenes of violence in the Creggan area of Derry when a number of missiles, including petrol bombs, were hurled by young people at a police Land Rover monitoring the pre-commemoration parade.

The illegal parade started in the Central Drive area when a number of masked men in paramilitary-style dress formed a colour party carrying the Irish flag and a host of republican flags.

Derry Easter Commemoration parade
A PSNI officer inside the cemetery on Tuesday (Liam McBurney/PA).

Commenting on the security operation, Foyle MP Colum Eastwood tweeted: “People can’t get to the graves of their loved because of the actions of a few with no political mandate and no support.

“Hoping the city cemetery is made safe as soon as possible.”

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