The President and Vice President of Republican Sinn Fein were arrested in Lurgan, County Armagh last night on the way to a protest rally in support of republican prisoners.
The pair have been charged with ‘organising an illegal parade’ earlier this year.
RSF President Des Dalton and Vice-President Fergal Moore are both being held at Lurgan police station.
The men are due to appear before Craigavon magistrates court later today.
Josephine Hayden, general secretary of Republican Sinn Fein, said the two arrests were a “form of mini-internment.” The organisation, formerly led by Ruairi O Bradaigh, split with the Adams/McGuinness leadership of Sinn Fein in 1986.
A spontanous protest was held overnight at Lurgan PSNI station, while local youths in the nationalist Kilwilkie area of the town rioted, setting a number of cars alight. There was also a report of shots being fired i, as well as trouble in nearby Newry.
The Belfast to Dublin railway line was closed for a period due to the disorder.
The march in question was held in Lurgan on January 23rd this year in support of the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail, and in particular drawing attention to the case of internee Martin Corey, whose release licence was suddenly revoked last year.
Ms Hayden said it was absurd that the PSNI had chosen to arrest Dalton and Moore over the march.
“We don’t need permission to march down any Irish street. It’s our country, it doesn’t belong to the British,” she said.
Republican Sinn Fein activists would attend the court hearing in Craigavon, she said.