Republican News · Thursday 8 May 1997

[An Phoblacht]

RUC try to disrupt election

``THE RUC WAS INTENT ON provocation,'' said Sinn Féin's Sean McKnight after RUC raids on Sinn Fein election premises as voting was under way last Thursday 1 May.

The first raids occurred at about 4.30pm when a house in Ballymurphy being used by Sinn Féin election workers was hit. The RUC maintained they were looking for ``illegal election material'' being used for personation. After a fruitless search which lasted about 45 minutes they left.

During the RUC raid a large number of local people, angry at the RUC's behaviour, gathered but the situation was kept under control by Sinn Féin representatives.

``Had it not been for our party representatives giving responsible leadership the incident could have turned into a riot, something the RUC seemed to want given that they had up to 30 jeeps in the area,'' said McKnight who is the councillor for the area.

Two other houses in the Moyard area were also raided while a Sinn Féin election worker was beaten by British troops in an incident in Ballymurphy.

Later that evening, within minutes of Gerry Adams leaving a Sinn Féin tally hut in Jasmine End in Twinbrook, the RUC raided the premises. Again they used the pretence of searching for ``illegal election material'' but again found nothing. In the course of the raid the RUC ripped election material from the walls.

Sinn Féin election candidate in the forthcoming local elections, Paul Butler, again asked a crowd which had gathered not to ``play into the RUC's hands.

Go to the polling station, put your X beside Adams' name, that's the best way to deal with these people,'' he said.

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