Republican News · Thursday 19 August 1999

[An Phoblacht]

RUC fire plastic bullets at protesters

By Roisin Cox

Nationalist protesters were shot at by the RUC while peacefully protesting against an Apprentice Boys feeder parade through a nationalist area in Lurgan on 14 August. Two protesters were injured during the incident.

The protest, organised by the William Street Residents Group, was designed to show opposition to the Parades Commission's decision to allow the parade to pass through the nationalist area.

William Street and the surrounding area were cordoned off at 3am and a local resident was arrested for trying to get home after a night out. Residents who gathered to protest against the Apprentice Boys march were refused entry into William Street and two were arrested. This provoked confrontation with the RUC, who fired up to eight plastic bullets, injuring two protesters.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Dara O'Hagan said afterwards: ``Like Belfast, today's parade should never have happened. The protest in opposition to this march was peaceful and dignified. Despite this fact, the RUC chose to provoke confrontation and were clearly out to cause disruption and injury.''

She appealed for calm following the RUC disturbances.

The Apprentice Boys are aiming to further raise tension in the area with plans to hold a series of weekly parades through William Street, which would not only further damage already fragile community relations but also prevent nationalists from accessing local shops every Saturday.

O Hagan said: ``At a time when dialogue is urgently required the actions of the Apprentice Boys are making the search for a negotiated resolution all the more difficult.''

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