Irish Republican News · February 5, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: PSNI aggression in east Belfast
PSNI aggression in east Belfast

Heavy-handed raids by the PSNI police have led to angry stand-offs with local residents in the nationalist enclaves of east Belfast.

The raids followed the death of a man who was stabbed in a dispute outside a Belfast city centre pub on Sunday night.

Rab McCartney, from the republican Short Strand area of east Belfast, was wounded in an incident involving up to five other people and died on Monday in hospital.

Up to 20 PSNI units operating out of armoured vehicles carried out violent raids in the Short Strand and Markets area this week. They subsequently came under attack from crowds of local teenagers.

Similar raids following the Northern Bank robbery before Christmas have also raised tensions in republican areas of west and north Belfast.

Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey condemned the PSNI actions, describing the scale and approach of the operation as “completely unacceptable and unjustifiable”.

“The searches were carried out in a brutal, heavy-handed way reminiscent of the types of raids carried out years ago by the RUC.

“This sort of heavy handed policing belongs in the past. However in recent months it seems that the PSNI are increasingly adopting the tactics employed for decades by the RUC in their approach to republican and nationalist communities.”

He said a tragic loss of life had been turned into a “political point scoring exercise” as republicans were accused by political opponents of preventing the arrest of suspects.

Contrary to some unionist allegations, the PSNI has said it does not believe the Provisional IRA was involved in the stabbing incident.

“No one interfered with the first searches or the investigation but then the police arrived with Land Rovers and began kicking republicans’ doors in,” Mr Maskey said.

© 2005 Irish Republican News