Republican News · Thursday 03 February 2000

[An Phoblacht]

RUC ``intent on starting trouble'' in Derry

Numerous complaints have been made to Sinn Féin about the behaviour of the RUC, which tried to provoke trouble in Derry during the week of Bloody Sunday commemoration.

Jim Kelly is set to sue the RUC for false imprisonment after he was arrested on Friday 28 January as he sold black ribbons to commemorate the killings.

The RUC claimed that Jim Kelly was arrested because he refused to give details of his identity when he was requested to do so. Paddy MacDermott, Kelly's solicitor, however, disputed the RUC's story and confirmed that his client would be taking legal action against the RUC.

``My client is totally disputing the reason given for his arrest,'' he said. ``The RUC is claiming that they could not establish my client's identity but on two occasions prior to his arrest my client gave his name and address and did this in front of numerous witnesses.''

A number of angry eye-witnesses were scathing of the RUC. ``The way the RUC acted and their whole attitude looked like they were intent on starting trouble,'' said one. ``If the RUC men involved in this were not aware of the feelings around Bloody Sunday, then they should not be on the streets of Derry. This man was doing nothing but selling black ribbons and his arrest could easily have ended in a riot.''

The RUC have also been criticised for a number of other incidents over the last week.

Derry City Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn slammed the RUC for carrying out a number of raids against republicans in the city on Thursday 27 January, conducted under the pretext of searching for guns and explosives.

``It is clear from the actions of the RUC that this force is engaged in a cynical offensive,'' he said, ``designed to justify its existence and the perpetuation of the plethora of anti-human rights legislation which should be removed in the new political dispensation.

``Thursday night's incidents are yet further evidence of the need for the RUC to be disbanded and the immediate repeal of the repressive emergency legislation which provides this force with political cover,'' he said.

Also in Derry, RUC claims that they were attacked by around 40 youths early on Sunday morning have been dismissed by a barman in the city, who witnesed the force's provocative behaviour that night.

The barman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that contrary to RUC claims that two of their officers were attacked by a crowd and the trouble grew as they tried to make arrests, the reality was that the events were the result of ``day-long RUC provocation''.

``At around 10.30am on Saturday morning, there were a lot of police about looking at every car and giving out tickets on Waterloo Street. That night, from 10.30pm, they were in the town centre in full riot gear and soaking young people with fire extinguishers.

``All day long, they were stopping people and were definitely making their presence felt. They were in cars and white jeeps during the day and at night there were about seven of the grey jeeps floating around the town,'' he said.

Referring to the alleged attack on the RUC, the barman said RUC officers in full riot gear and carrying batons charged up Waterloo Street at 2am on Sunday morning and ``provoked what happened, without a doubt. They were very heavy handed in their approach''.

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