A County Armagh schoolboy was assaulted by a member of the PSNI who batoned the 12-year-old just over a week ago, it has emerged.
John Heaney, a member of the group ‘Republican Network for Unity’, said his son Eoghan suffered bruising to his legs and he himself was left with a black eye and lacerations to his face in the incident just over a week ago.
Social services have been informed of the assault, as has the children’s commissioner.
Mr Heaney said the PSNI stopped his car on the Killylea Road in Armagh just before 5pm on Tuesday of last week and said they wanted to search him.
“I was complying with itwhen one of them tried to search Eoghan - I said therewas no need, he was only a child,” Mr Heaney said.
“But Eoghan got scared and ran towards a nearby shop to ask for help.
“One policeman chased after him and hit him across the legs. I tried to calm things down and was struck twice in the upper leg myself.
“They put me in the back of a car and for some reason drove me to a nearby rugby ground.”
Mr Heaney said he was further assaulted in the back of the car before being moved into a van and driven to Lurgan police station.
The boy was also taken to the station were he was fingerprinted and released into thecare of his mother after around six hours in custody.
Nationalist areas in Newry and elsewhere have again been targeted by the PSNI amid a fresh spate of house raids and arrest operations across the North.
Newry residents have complained of six hours of PSNI raiding, backed up by a low-flying Crown force helicopter that kept the local population under close surveillance.
During this time even local people going to the local shop were stopped and searched by the PSNI, some in heavy riot gear.
Meanwhile, supporters of prominent Derry republican Gary Donnelly have said he has been subject to continual harassment by the PSNI since he declared his intention to run for council as an independent candidate in the local elections.
In one recent detention, Donnelly, who was holding his 2-year-old son in his arms, was handcuffed and pulled by the handcuffs down a busy Derry street.
eirigi’s Stephen Murney, who was called to the scene in Newry, said the residents described it as being “like Beirut”.
“At one stage I witnessed roughly eight riot-clad PSNI thugs running down the grass bank towards a group of youngsters standing by the Camlough Road bus shelters at the Derrybeg estate, some of them had their batons drawn and a number of them were carrying assault rifles.
“This then provoked a riot situation during which a number of armoured land rovers entered the Derrybeg estate in an attempt to draw the youngsters into confrontation.
“The PSNI had no reason to be anywhere near Derrybeg considering their repressive operation was talking place in another area.”
Murney continued: “This is nothing new to the people of the Carnagat, Parkhead and Derrybeg areas. Numerous times over the past few months these areas have been saturated and subjected to house raids, harassment, and riot situations provoked by the actions of the British forces.
“The good people in these areas won’t be fooled by the attempts to portray our society and the occupying forces as normal, it is far from normal, they are seeing the same things that they seen in these areas during the 70s, 80s and 90s.”
He also said the British army had saturated the same area a few weeks ago, “something which the establishment parties have remained strangely silent about.”