Republican News · Thursday 06 April 2000

[An Phoblacht]

More RUC porkies

The one certainty of the past 30 years is that you ignore the RUC press office and its version of any event that takes place in relation to the nationalist community.

Likewise, on Saturday 1 April, when the RUC said that over 200 people tried to force entry into Springfield Road RUC barracks during a Sinn Féin protest and that Assembly member Sue Ramsey was arrested ``during clashes'', you take it with a large dose of salt.

The RUC claimed that on Saturday, a protest outside Springfield Road, which began with between 20 and 30 people, ended up with about 200 people in attendance and that their officers, ``prevented a forced entry'' into the barracks and deserved ``praise for their restraint''.

In the past couple of weeks, there has been speculation that Springfield Barracks is closing down, so as part of Saturday's protest, demonstrators painted Tricolours on the outside walls.

They also advertised the barracks in white paint: For Sale to the highest bidder.

None of this activity was anything other than peaceful.

Then, someone produced a ladder and decided to paint out the windows on the sangar overlooking the front gate of the barracks. It was while this was happening that the RUC arrived in jeeps and the ladder disappeared.

The demonstrators, whose numbers never exceeded 50, (although shoppers and passers by stopped to watch) decided to bring the protest to a halt.

But rather than allow the protester to peacefully disperse, and using their usual heavy handed and aggressive tactics, the RUC grabbed one woman demonstrator and tried to arrest her.

Up to six RUC officers dragged the woman towards a jeep. Some of the protesters went to her aid and it was then that the RUC turned their attentions on Sue Ramsey, a Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast.

In their enthusiasm to arrest an elected representative, the RUC struck several people. Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor Marie Moore was struck on the face and arm, while at least one other woman was also hit.

Predictably, the establishment media ran with the RUC version of events. The Irish News went even further, claiming that the crowd demanded the ``destruction'' of the base!!

In truth, a good natured and peaceful demonstration turned nasty when the RUC attacked a number of women under the pretence of arresting them for ``criminal damage''.

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