Derry demonstration sends torch on unplanned detour

Henry McDonald
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/04/derry-olympic-torch-protest
4 June 2012

**Video onsite

Dissident republicans disrupted the progress of the Olympic flame as it passed through Northern Ireland’s second city.

The carrying of the torch on day 17 of its journey around the UK and Ireland had to be diverted because of a protest near the city’s new Peace bridge.

One man was arrested during scuffles with the police as the Olympic entourage attempted to cross over the bridge into Derry city centre.

Local SDLP Assembly member Mark H Durkan said people in Derry would be “disgusted” over the disruption.

“It was not a massive detour. It had been coming down Custom House Street and then had to turn and go back around Guildhall Square, so you are talking 100 yards. But it was not what was planned and that is pretty embarrassing,” he said.

The protest was connected to dissident republican complaints about Real IRA and Continuity IRA prisoners held inside jails in Northern Ireland. The city has been a focal point for republican dissident violence.

During the Olympic flame’s tour of the city, the torch was also carried on an eight-man rowing boat on the nearby river Bann. During the day it was taken to famous tourist spots in the north of Ireland, including Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

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