Oppressive PSNI tactics in Fermanagh, Derry
Oppressive PSNI tactics in Fermanagh, Derry

PSNI brutality at a checkpoint in the Eniskillen area has been condemned.

Fermanagh representative Kevin Martin of the eirigi organisation said the checkpoint involved over a dozen landrovers and individuals in military fatigues “who let off flares”.

He said two local men were taken from their car and held along the roadside for two hours.

“The men were made kneel on the roadside for two hours with there hands on there head. One of the men who has a back condition was not allowed to move.

“When the other man asked the PSNI to allow his friend with the back condition of the road, he was struck on the back of the head with a rifle.”

The car was later impounded.

Meanwhile, Fermanagh Independent Councillor Bernice Swift has forwarded complaints to the Police Ombudsman after three houses were “besieged” for six hours last week.

She said she was called to homes in the Enniskillen area after getting complaints about PSNI landrovers and personnel blockading the area in an arrest operation.

Two men who were arrested were later released without charge.

A local press officer for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) condemned the arrests and urged the wider nationalist community “to open their eyes and take a good look at what is happening around them.”

“Republicans everywhere should follow our example and stand united against the onslaught that is sure to come with the devolution of Policing and Justice.”

Meanwhile, there has been a large increase in the numbers of people being detained in nationalist areas of Derry by the PSNI.

Solicitor Paddy MacDermott, of the MacDermott and McGurk firm, said he had been contacted by a large number of people after they were detained under the Terrorism Act.

He hit out at the PSNI, who he said were stopping and searching people based solely on their political background.

“We have numerous complaints from clients over the past number of weeks with regard to being stopped and searched by the PSNI,” he said.

“It would appear that this is part of a concerted campaign targeted at people for their political views.”

Several members of the 32CSM confirmed that they had been stopped and searched under the Terrorism Act.

One member said he was searched by the PSNI while holding his three year-old child in his arms. Well known republican Gary Donnelly also said he and his 16 year-old daughter were searched while the teenager was pushing a child in a pram on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Donnelly said it was the latest in a series of incidents where children have been present while republicans have been searched.

“As republicans we expect this type of hostility from the police but I think it is unacceptable that they are turning their attention towards children now. I have been stopped while with my children on several occasions in the last fortnight and my 16 year-old daughter has been stopped under the Terrorism Act also. This is a very scary experience for children,” he said.

Last week the PSNI also controversially challenged a group of Derry teenagers who were playing hurling near their Waterside homes, that their hurls constituted “offensive weapons”.

Michael Gallagher of the 32 CSM, who said he has been stopped several times in recent days, said the incidents are part of a “renewed effort to harass republicans.”

“We have seen the real face of the RUC with the ongoing harassment of republicans and their families.

“Republicans are now being harassed on a daily, and indeed, an hourly basis,” he said.

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© 2009 Irish Republican News