The Derrybeg estate in Newry saw heavy clashes between the PSNI and nationalist youths after armoured jeeps descended on the republican estate, sealing off the entrance to the area.
The PSNI claimed they were responding to a bomb alert at the Camlough Road roundabout.
However, local residents, political activists and elected representatives were able to walk right up to the roundabout during the ‘alert’, with traffic flowing freely around it.
The PSNI were accused of goading young republicans who had gathered nearby, resulting in four hours of clashes and rioting.
The trouble resulted in a car accident, which local residents and activists were left to clear.
After leaving Derrybeg for a short period, the PSNI returned in armoured landrovers, again stoking tensions.
This time, however, eirigi activists placed themselves in front of the landrovers and refused to let the PSNI enter the estate. As the activists were joined by other residents, a standoff ensued before the PSNI were forced to admit defeat and withdraw.
When a member of the local District Policing Partnership arrived on the scene, she informed the residents and eirigi activists that she had been speaking to a senior member of the PSNI.
She passed on the information that the individual in question told her that “they would be dealing with the people who had surrounded a landrover”.
When an eirigi activist challenged her as to what was meant by “dealing” with people and, “Did it mean the PSNI would be using violence?”, she refused to answer, stating “I won’t speak to you”, before leaving the area.
Runai ginearalta eirigi Breandan Mac Cionnaith said: “Serious questions need to be asked as to why the PSNI felt the need to be anywhere near the Derrybeg estate in the first place, considering the alleged alert was nowhere near the area.
“A pattern seems to be emerging with incidents like this. Several weeks ago, the PSNI used similar tactics in the exact same area, provoking a riot situation. Each time there is an alleged security alert in Newry, the PSNI use it as an excuse to arrive in force to seal off the Derrybeg estate, close roads, antagonise youths and cause riot situations.
“The blame for this situation lies squarely with the PSNI and we commend our activists and the people of Derrybeg who stood shoulder to shoulder and refused to allow the PSNI, who were intent on causing trouble, to enter their area. People across the Six Counties who are suffering due to the unwanted presence of the PSNI should take a leaf from the book of the people of Derrybeg.
“eirigi will fully support any community that is resisting the repressive tactics of Britain’s police force in Ireland.”
Meanwhile, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement has condemned the PSNI in Derry City following a house raid in the Creggan estate last week.
The couple whose family home was raided were attending the funeral of a relative when it was made known to them that the PSNI was searching their home.
Both of their children, one of whom was ill, were at home in the company of a childminder when the PSNI Tactical Support Groups (TSGs) arrived without notice.
“When the parents arrived back at the house they were greeted with the sight of heavily armed TSGs plundering through their belongings while their young child sat terrified,” according to the 32 County Sovereignty Committee.
“The sick child had to be taken from the premises in her pyjamas by a neighbour and the RUC/PSNI would not allow her clothes and shoes to be brought to her to get dressed for some 40 minutes.
Both her and her friend’s mobile phones were taken, together with phones which had been wrapped as christmas presents.
A taxi which also doubled up as the family car was also taken, “leaving the family with no viable means of income” according to the 32CSM.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement and Republican Network for Unity mounted an immediate protest in blizzard conditions outside the Strand Road PSNI barracks on Friday.