Riot follows Craigavon arrests
Riot follows Craigavon arrests

Heavy rioting has broken out in Craigavon tonight following PSNI operations in north Armagh.

The clashes began late this afternoon following a PSNI raid in the Drumbeg area of the town.

Four vehicles, including a lorry, were used to form a burning barricade as the trouble flared ahead of ‘Drumcree Sunday’ and the height of the marching season.

The PSNI said they had been “carrying out a search of a property” when they “came under attack”.

Republican Sinn Fein said one of its members was “jumped on” outside his home by members of the PSNI who beat him with batons. Local people who went to the youth’s assistance were then hit with batons, punched to the ground and sprayed with CS spray.

“The youth has bruising all over his body, his nose and mouth was bleeding, his face scraped and he had to receive medical treatment by a doctor at the barracks. Several other people were injured during the police attack,” RSF said in a statement.

The youth was arrested and taken to Lurgan PSNI barracks, charged with disorderly behaviour and remanded in custody until he provides an address in Lurgan -- although he resides in Craigavon.

Upper Bann Sinn Fein Assembly member John O’Dowd criticised those involved in the rioting, which has intensified tonight [Thursday night].

“The Tullgally community has worked hard and tirelessly with the Brownlow Neighbourhood Renewal Board, Craigavon Council and other statutory agencies to regenerate their area and they have been successful in this effort,” he said.

“These community activists are the true representation of this area, not those reactionary individuals who burnt work vehicles that were delivering a service to the local community.

“The political masters and the political groupings that have in the past supported the attempts to isolate this community from the benefits enjoyed by the rest of society should look at the effects of this wanton destruction and stand up and give proper leadership to their own followers.”

Tension in Craigavon increased on Tuesday after the the PSNI arrested and reportedly beat a 15-year-old youth in the same area.

“It is obvious that the RUC/PSNI is targeting the Craigavon/Lurgan areas in an attempt to stamp Republican resistance to British rule in Ireland,” RSF said.

Meanwhile, a PSNI raid on a Newry estate last week was slammed as being like “a scene from the 1970s or ‘80s”.

The raid which began on one house in Derrybeg in the early hours of June 16 and extended to a search operation of the estate itself lasted most of the day, with armed PSNI officers stopping vehicles entering and leaving Derrybeg.

Several homes across Newry were also searched on the same day and a number of items were seized for forensic examination. Four men were arrested but were released without charge later the same day.

Breandan Mac Cionnaith, general secretary of eirigi, claimed that the PSNI was systematically targeting the nationalist community of the city.

“At a time when the great and the good are proclaiming a new beginning for policing in the Six Counties the PSNI is proving, by its own actions, that it is business as usual as far as its treatment of nationalist communities is concerned,” he said.

“Is this the new beginning to policing we were promised? This is not normal policing, this is not civic policing. This is the same repressive policing that we have been subjected to for decades. Nothing has changed with this paramilitary force except their name and badge.”

Mr Mac Cionnaith said that Derrybeg was the target of “Crown Forces harassment” due to its “proud history of opposing the British occupation”.

“Despite the change of name, the primary aim of the PSNI is exactly the same as the primary aim of the RUC - to protect the British occupation of the Six Counties.”

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