A former anti-terror officer has said that dissidents who use young people to carry out acts of violence should be charged with “child exploitation”.
im Gamble was speaking as eight people have been arrested linked to disturbances in the city on Monday.
It followed a parade organised by Saoradh, the political wing of the New IRA, that breached a Parades Commission determination by having a ‘colour party’ of men and women in paramilitary uniform marching from the Free Derry Wall to the City Cemetery.,
Once at the cemetery, petrol bombs were hurled at police lines by around a dozen young people.
Video footage posted online shows youths carrying a crate of petrol bombs from inside the cemetery before launching an attack on the PSNI as they attempted to move in to make arrests.
Five men, aged 29, 38, 40, 50 and 54, were arrested by police on Monday under the Terrorism Act.
A 45-year-old man was also arrested overnight on Monday.
Another man, aged 40, has been charged with disorderly behaviour and resisting police and is to appear in court on May 11.
A 44-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act earlier on Tuesday and he remains in custody. A number of searches were also carried out at addresses in Creggan.
The parade took place on the third anniversary of the murder of Lyra McKee, despite objections from her family.
A man widely believed to have been the gunman who pulled the trigger on the night Ms McKee died was pictured at the parade walking with senior members of Saoradh.
Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson said “there were petrol bombs in a crate within the cemetery and masonry thrown at us”.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle he added: “As part of that premeditated violence young people were used, encouraged and cheered along by adults to attack the police.
“That is a terrible and hopeless thing to see.”
Police said they seized a number of vehicles, paramilitary-style uniforms and petrol bombs.
Among the footage posted online is a video showing around a dozen young people attacking a police Land Rover at the gates of the cemetery, with a crate filled with petrol bombs, that are believed to have been hidden in the cemetery earlier in the day.
The majority of the young people are in their late teens, one narrowly escapes injury when a petrol bomb passes close to his head.
An attempt by riot police to arrest people at the scene resulted in clashes with those who had followed behind the parade.
Former RUC officer Jim Gamble said those responsible for orchestrating the disturbance should be charged with “child exploitation”.
Mr Gamble who now specialises in the safeguarding of children, said that the young people involved in the riot were being used as “cannon fodder”.
“They know the younger the people they use the less likelihood that they’ll be punished in the way that an adult might be.
“For years we talked about child exploitation, it is really criminal child exploitation, to send a young person out with a crate of petrol bombs to throw them having been incited by older people.
“It’s those young people whose lives are destroyed while the others stand back and simply use them as cannon fodder.
“No matter the difficulties we face in Northern Ireland, in the absence of sensible political engagement across party lines the vacuum is being filled by people who resort to violence.
“And they don’t do it in any courageous way, by putting themselves in the front line.
“They’ll put their hand me down uniforms on and march in comical way, but apart from that what they do is radicalise young people and they treat them as a disposable asset.
“Those people that prepared these young people to go out, that helped them get the petrol bombs ready, that inspired them they are no better than child abusers.
“What they have done is that they have groomed they have radicalised young people and they have ruined their lives.”
Mr Gamble who was a former head of RUC Special Branch also said the nature of policing in parts of Northern Ireland, that remains security focused, can help “feed the cycle”.
“I worked many years ago in Strand Road. Whenever you went into what was the Bogside you knew there was going to be confrontation and because of that the police went in armed in a particular way and used particular tactics and that in turn fed the cycle.
“And I would admit to behaving in a defensive manner that wasn’t going to make someone there see me as someone who was there to help them.
“I saw real changes in Derry when the flats were knocked down, when there was investment in the area, when jobs came in, that helped build hope and so then terrorism went down, and policing tactics changed.”