British Crown forces in the North engaged in widespread harassment and intimidation of voters on Thursday, patrolling around polling stations and photographing voters as they arrived.

As voting began, West Belfast Assembly member Michael Ferguson of Sinn Féin said members of the PSNI police had been reported filing and photographing voters and cars outside St Aidan’s Primary School on the Springfield Road this morning.

He said: “This sort of blatant intelligence gathering is unacceptable and is clearly designed to intimidate voters from going to the polls.”

ELsewhere, two British Army landrovers surrounded the Sinn Féin election caravan parked outside Saggart Polling station in Dungannon.

A large number of British Army personnel then left the jeeps and began patrolling around the entrance to the polling station and harassing both election workers and voters.

“This is clearly the British contribution to the electoral process in Ireland,” said local Assembly member Francie Molloy.

His colleague Michelle GIldernew MP said British troops were “making their presence felt” in nearby Cabragh and Galbally.

“The British Crown forces are clearly fearful of the continuing rise of Sinn Féin and are determined to try a prevent people exercising their franchise.

“The behaviour of the British Army and PSNI throughout the Six Counties is an extension of the British government strategy to disenfranchise voters here in order to influence the elections and achieve the results they want. It is a direct interference in the democratic process.”

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