Residents battered in Bellaghy
The RUC attacked the people of Bellaghy and Sinn Féin MP Martin
McGuinness the night after finishing their work on Garvaghy Road.
Residents assembled peaceably to oppose the annual Orange parade
through the predominately nationalist village. Hundreds of RUC
and British Army flooded the village to corral residents in a
tiny area, then surged forward trying to move residents back
Martin McGuinness was giving a radio interview to the
international press, some 200 yards away from the main crowd,
when he was attacked and struck by an RUC or British Army baton.
A disabled woman, Brí Ní Corraín, was knocked to the ground and
injured her wrist. Meanwhile nationalist protestors were being
battered by the RUC everywhere within range. After intervening
for peace and calm, McGuinness continued the interview with blood
dripping from his head wound.
Dismissing questions about his own injury, McGuinness said he
wanted to talk instead about the RUC attack on the people of
Bellaghy, which he described as ``a disgrace''.
Riot-clad RUC created a ``sterile zone'' between the Orange
marchers and the local residents, but provoked trouble when they
tried to push nationalists even further back. This marked
breaking point for some frustrated residents, who hurled placards
and banners at the RUC, who replied with batons and boots.
Defending residents' rights, McGuinness said people had every
right to protest before the world when they were being abused,
and to demonstrate their anger at the state's treatment of other
nationalists at Garvaghy Road.
Jim Hasson, Bellaghy Residents Group spokesperson, warned the RUC
to ``remember that this village belongs to local residents and
will belong to us long after the Crown Forces have left.''