Irish Republican News · January 14, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Harassment and intimidation of nationalists

The British Crown forces have been accused of sustaining a campaign of harassment of nationalists and their polticial representatives in Counties Tyrone and Antrim.

One incident involves the detention of Omagh council chairman Sean Clarke by a joint police/British army patrol in County Tyrone.

A vehicle with three Sinn Féin activists was stopped and harassed for around fifteen minutes as they were returning from the party’s Westminster Selection Convention in Carrickmore.

Sinn Féin’s Pat Doherty accused the PSNI/ British Army of “blatant political harassment”.

He said Patrick O Hagan, the son of unionist paramilitary murder victim Kathleen O’Hagan, and another man were subjected to “a litany of petty questions” and the car was thoroughly searched.

He said the fact that they ignored Sean Clarke altogether showed that this was “little more than a blatant exercise in political harassment”.

“This latest incident follows on from extremely suspicious activity by crown forces around Sean Clarke’s home on Christmas day.

“This present upsurge in crown force harassment of republicans coincides with a clearly defined strategy by securocrats and our political opponents to demonise Sinn Féin.

“Given the experience of past periods when such political climates were carefully fostered, I would urge all Sinn Féin members and republicans to be extremely vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI in Ballymena have been accused of a pattern of politically motivated policing in the town.

In the past six months, the incidents have included raids on people’s property, the inappropriate use of CS spray, blanket policing of certain communities, and regular attempts to recruit informers.

This is driven by senior police officers and it is obviously a policy against local nationalists.

Local Sinn Féin representative Philip McGuigan claimed the campaign was driven by senior police officers.

“If people compare this type of policing to their lack of response to loyalist pipe bombs being laid at the door of the nationalist community last summer, they can clearly see the political agenda at play,” he said.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News