200 attend rally against dissident republican violence

The crowd at Guildhall Square The crowd heard calls for an end to dissident republican violence

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About 200 people have attended a peace rally at Guildhall Square in Londonderry.

The crowds heard repeated calls for an end to dissident republican violence.

Derry Trade Unions Council organised the event after a 200lb car bomb exploded near Da Vinci's Hotel in the city at the beginning of October.

The council's secretary Liam Gallagher told the crowd, "We want to send a clear message that we oppose dissident violence."

He said, "Every time an incident occurs, this crowd will get bigger and bigger until finally the perpetrators of these crimes against this city get the message that they are not wanted."

Sinn Fein representatives attended the rally, as did the Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan and the East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell, who stood with other unionists under a banner that read: "Stop bombing Londonderry."

Strand Road restrictions
Liam Gallagher addresses the crowd Family and friends of Kieran Doherty, who was murdered by the Real IRA, listen to Liam Gallagher address the crowd

Meanwhile, the police have said that they plan to restrict car parking outside Strand Road police station in Derry.

Another 200lb car bomb exploded outside the police station at the beginning of August.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said: "We understand the inconvenience this may cause, however the safety of local residents and my officers and staff must be the priority.

"It is unfortunate that we have been put in the position where we feel this is a necessary measure.

"Given the severe threat, and in particular the recent bomb attack and subsequent damage caused to nearby businesses, we believe it is the correct and proportionate thing to do."

The police said that they had spoken to local residents and businesses about the planned restrictions.

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