Raids fuelling republican protests
Raids fuelling republican protests

Republicans tonight expressed anger at heavy-handed police raids in County Tyrone.

A water main was damaged as two homes were searched during an operation outside the village of Beragh.

The PSNI police claimed in their warrant that the searches were part of the investigation into the Northern Bank robbery.

“Already the outsides of the homes have been dug up and water supplies have been cut off. The wife of the man who owns one of the homes was prevented from travelling to work this morning,” West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty said.

The homes of republicans were raided in west Belfast following the heist. The raids over the Christmas period were accompanied by news camera crews and led to angry stand-offs with local residents.

Mr Doherty claimed the searches were part of a campaign against republicans. “It has nothing to do with the Northern Bank robbery and everything to do with intimidating and harassing the nationalist community.

“No doubt it will eventually end - as all of their other searches relating to this robbery have - in complete failure.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s leadership is preparing to initiate a policy of ‘democratic resistance’ amid a continuing policing and political onslaught against republicans.

Senior negotiator Gerry Kelly announced the proposed new strategy at his party’s Six-County AGM in Gulladuff, County Derry at the weekend.

Speaking to representatives of the party leadership from across the North of Ireland, Mr Kelly said that the current crisis in the peace process has been engineered by Sinn Féin’s opponents “because they are afraid of our growing electoral strength”.

“Republicans need to respond by complete commitment to a policy of democratic resistance that is being prepared for the time ahead,” he said.

There are to be major rallies across the North in the next two weeks.

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