A number of British Army Landrovers rolling through the streets of Derry have been linked to a new wave of repressive Crown force raids across the North.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement said the heavily armoured vehicles, pictured in Derry on Saturday, were used to support raids in the Creggan area of the city which was carried out by the PSNI.
A significant campaign of heavy-handed arrest operations in the past week has seen serious incidents in Derry, Newry, Belfast and elsewhere.
Among the homes raided in Derry was that of a woman who just the day before had attended the funeral of her mother, veteran republican Peggy Dobbins.
The woman, who had also recently undergone a triple by-pass operation, was so distressed that neighbours called the local priest to attend. Her daughter’s home was raided subsequently.
Just two months ago the same family were targeted by the PSNI as the funeral of another relative was taking place.
“The neighbours tried to intervene to explain to the security forces about the heartache that the family have been through in the past week -- to which they laughed in their faces,” one neighbour said.
On the same occasion, the PSNI raided the home of a grand-daughter of well known Republican Patsy Duffy, who himself had been brutally murdered by the British Army’s SAS in 1978.
The resident and the two children present in the house were brutally removed “in hysterics”, and were subject to body searches, according to the resident. This led to the eldest child, a 10-year-old, being assaulted, while the youngest a 6 month old infant had its nappy removed by a member of the PSNI.
BRIAN SHIVERS ATTACKED
Last week the PSNI was also accused of hospitalising Colin Duffy’s co-accused, Brian Shivers, in an assault at his home in the town of Magherafelt.
Mr Shivers had complained of continual harassment by the PSNI since he was charged with a deadly Real IRA attack on a British Army base. Shivers, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, received bail and is currently awaiting trial along with high-profile prisoner, Colin Duffy, who is still on remand in Maghaberry prison.
During the assault Shivers received multiple injuries, including severe bruising to his throat, which he said were incurred when they tried to strangle him and broke his ribs.
Shivers was rushed to Antrim hospital, but he left the next day as he didn’t feel it was safe for him to stay in hospital any longer.
There have also been a series of raids in Newry, the latest in an ongoing campaign of arrests, detentions and petty harassment of the republican community in the border town, particularly of eirigi activists.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Republican Sinn Fein condemned “the continuing harassment of nationalists and Republicans” by the PSNI after three of its members were lifted.
The arrests this week of nationalists and Republicans, including three members of Republican Sinn Féin, across the occupied 6 County area by the British Colonial Police, the RUC/PSNI, are designed to intimidate and silence anyone who dares to voice opposition to the continued occupation of a part of Ireland,” he said.
This continuing harassment is clear evidence that despite a few cosmetic changes the realities of British rule remain the same. The blatant political policing demonstrated regularly is another reason why Republicans oppose British rule in Ireland.
“We will not be intimidated by such bully boy tactics and will continue working towards our goal of a Free and United Ireland undaunted by these attacks on our communities, he concluded.