Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:46 UK

City policing meeting disrupted

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Up to 50 dissident republicans forced their way into the meeting after scuffles with the hotel staff

Up to 50 dissident republicans have disrupted a meeting of the District Policing Partnership in Londonderry.

The meeting was under way at Da Vinci's Hotel when protestors manhandled hotel staff and forced their way in.

Independent DPP member Linda Watson said it was "an absolute disgrace", and those responsible should be "ashamed".

The dissident republican group Irish Republican Forum for Unity said the meeting was a "political charade" set up "to give a pretence of legitimacy".

DPP chairperson and Sinn Fein councillor Elisha McLaughlin said the body would not be intimidated out of doing their work.

"I will not be deterred, and in fact it has given me more and more encouragement.

"I saw the large volume of people who had to be turned away today, who wanted to go in to hold the PSNI to account in relation to the specific things the protesters are protesting about," she said.

We won't be deflected by a few idiots
Acting Chief Inspector Jon Burrows

The protestors blew horns and chanted anti-police slogans. There were also arguments between some of the protesters and mainstream republicans who were attending the meeting.

Brian McFadden from the IRFU claimed they had been denied the right to put their case at a public meeting.

"We're sitting here defending our rights to a British Policing Board," he said.

"We weren't allowed access here to put our case, and if it's a public meeting the public are entitled to be here."

Acting Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said the DPP would meet again.

"Our challenge is to continue the business of policing, making people safe, arranging the next DPP, and continuing to be held to account by the public and continuing to deliver the policing they want.

"People want police officers visible in their neighbourhoods, delivering first class policing, making the roads safe, putting drug dealers behind bars, and catching criminals.

"That's what I joined the police to do, that's what the police service aims to do, and we won't be deflected by a few idiots."

A DPP meeting in Derry in July was called off after it was disrupted by a similar protest.



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