He also said the inference that police officers were responsible for disturbances in the area was ‘cheap, dog-whistle politics’.
The DUP MLA said, “For Colum Eastwood to suggest that police should withdraw from Creggan “so peace can be restored” is an outrageous comment. This was an active police operation which recovered a suspected firearm, as well as a number of suspected pipe bombs and ammunition. It isn’t for Colum Eastwood or anyone else to dictate how long that process should take, particularly when part of the reason officers were there would be to ensure the area is safe when they leave, including for the very people attacking them.
Police officers did not cause the disturbances that occurred in Creggan, they were the victim of them. It was those who prepared the petrol bombs and then used children to throw them who are responsible. Instead of recognising that fact, Colum Eastwood chose to engage in cheap ‘dog whistle’ politics, appearing to infer that police were somehow to blame for the entirely unwarranted and disgraceful attack they faced.
It seems unlikely that Colum Eastwood’s desire for the police to leave were motivated out of concern for officers injured during this operation, including one apparently struck on the head by masonry. He had the time to pose for a picture holding his phone and give the impression he was active on the ground, yet he didn’t have the time to use that phone and offer support to public servants who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our community safe.”