Mystery checkpoint as harassment, psy-ops mount
Mystery checkpoint as harassment, psy-ops mount

The North’s police ombudsman is to investigate after republicans were challenged by men wielding machine guns in a terror operation involving more than 80 police and 10 armoured vehicles last week.

A car carrying several political activists was stopped on the Al carriageway heading north just before 5pm on Saturday of last weekend.

The members of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) were returning from a protest in Dublin against this week’s visit by the British queen. Among those travelling in the Belfast bound car was RNU spokesman Carl Reilly.

The operation -- which saw the busy section of road closed off for a short time -- included both PSNI and British army operatives.

The occupants of the car included Mr Reilly, a second man and a middle-aged woman. All three were handcuffed and held face down on the ground for around 45 minutes before being allowed to continue their journey.

Mr Reilly had a machine gun placed to his head. “I’ve never seen anything like it, I can honestly say we all feared for our lives.

“I had a machine gun put to my head and was dragged along the ground all the while those present were screaming instructions.

“The level of aggression involved and the shear numbers present raises questions as to exactly what was the agenda behind it.

“The car was searched and we were let go, nothing was found or was ever going to be found.

“My solicitor has been instructed to make a complaint of assault against those involved,” he added.

The PSNI initially denied any operation had been carried out on the A1 that day, before stating that a car had been searched “with negative results”.

There were also a number of Garda raids in Dublin this week, with three republicans arrested in Donaghmede, Tallaght and the city centre, amid intense surveillance and harassment of republicans across the island.

The arrest in Armagh of a member of the Republican Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle (National Executive) was described as “a blatant act of political policing in the run up to the visit of the British Queen to the 26 Counties”.

There were several dawn raids on the homes of RSF members in County Armagh, the group said.

“The level of harassment being meted out to Republicans by both the RUC/PSNI and Gardai has greatly increased as the date of the visit approaches,” said Fergal Moore, Vice-President Republican Sinn Fein

“Republican Sinn Fein are determined to continue to protest against this visit and to bring the Republican message to the people of Ireland.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2011 Irish Republican News