There were large numbers of heavily armed RUC personnel on the streets of Newry last Saturday, 15 July, reminiscent of scenes from the past, when such activity was taken for granted. No one is quite sure at this stage what prompted such a presence, but what was clear was the RUC's provocative display and attitude on Saturday last. Republicans were singled out for special treatment throughout the day with checkpoints set up spontaneously when known activists were identified.
The same aggressiveness was not on display the previous week, when Orangemen and their supporters brought the Six Counties to a standstill through intimidation and destruction. Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Curran has questioned the reasoning behind the patrolling and stop and search tactics employed throughout the day on Saturday.
In one of the many reported incidents throughout the day, a South Armagh resident travelling along the Camloch Road to Newry was singled out by five RUC men at the junction known as ``The Wheel'' at Daisy Hill Gardens. Not having his license or insurance with him, he was told to produce the documents within the next seven days. Imagine the consternation on the faces of all five, however, when between them, they couldn't produce the documentation to enforce their request. This also proves that whatever the RUC were up to, it wasn't traffic duties.