Republican News · Thursday 18 November1999

[An Phoblacht]

Increased harassment in South Tyrone

Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Féin Assembly member for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, has called for an urgent meeting with Adam Ingram and the British Secretary of State Peter Mandelson. There has been an upsurge of RUC and British Army activity and excessive levels of harassment in the South Tyrone area and their behaviour at checkpoints has been hostile and provocative. Michelle has already met with representatives of the Irish government and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin to highlight this issue and as a measure of their concern they are sending a representative into the area to further discuss what is an ongoing and unrelentingly grim reality for Tyrone nationalists. There has been a noticeable increase in recent weeks of crown forces' oppression of nationalists and republicans, with several serious incidents recorded in the Moy, Coalisland, Aughnacloy, Brantry and Galbally areas of Tyrone. Michelle Gildernew has been called to a number of these incidents and has been treated in a most abusive and threatening manner by the Crown forces present. In Wednesday 10 November in the village of Moy, which was placed under a state of virtual siege by the RUC, a number of local nationalists were made to pull over by the DMSU on the Charlemont Road and were held for a lengthy period. Whilst there, they were made to endure verbal abuse and extremely threatening behaviour. None of those who were held in this manner were offered any reason for their detention and were subjected to sectarian remarks from the DMSU members, who also threatened to break their windscreens.

other nationalist who was passing through the village was then followed and pulled over by another DMSU car and held for 20 minutes. A crowd began to gather, fearing that the lives of the people who were being detained were in danger, due to the highly aggressive manner of the DMSU. Local people then contacted Michelle Gildernew, who on arrival at the scene was also subjected to threatening and abusive behaviour from the DMSU unit.

Michelle says that crown forces in the Tyrone area are attempting to provoke the nationalist and republican community:

``They continually set up check points in nationalist areas, using these as an opportunity to intimidate and harass local nationalists and republicans. They are not content with harassing adults in this way but increasingly school children are being exposed to this intolerable and unjustified hehaviour as checkpoints are being set up outside schools.

``The Good Friday Agreement clearly states the commitment by the British Government to demilitarisation, which runs contrary to what the nationalist people of Tyrone and of the North generally are experiencing daily, with sustained military activity on the roads and in the air. While this is ongoing, loyalists are left virtually unhindered to carry out attacks on nationalist homes with pipe bombs, petrol bombs and grenades imported from South Africa with the assistance of British Military Intelligence.''

At time of print, Michelle has still not received a date from the British Security Minister for a meeting to discuss this deteriorating situation.

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