A member of the Republican Network for Unity was assaulted and arrested by the PSNI while putting up suicide awareness posters in north Belfast on Sunday afternoon.
The 62-year-old activist and former political prisoner, Henry McErlean, was set upon by the Six-County police near the spot where a young man recently took his own life. The posters carry the numbers of essential services that offer support to vulnerable members of the Belfast community.
The PSNI “forced his arm up his back, grabbed the 62-year-old activist by the throat, accused him of damaging the lamppost, then dragged him into the back of a landrover”, according to the RNU.
The RNU denounced the arrest, which it said was one of “a litany of arrests, raids and harassment of our members across the six counties”.
“This is another blatant case of harassment by a force that has peddled the myth that they represent justice in our communities,” said Belfast chairperson Liam Morrison.
The victim was engaged in important community work and the PSNI attack was “an act of vengeful spite”.
“RNU demand that the colonial militia back off and allow him to continue his Republican and community activism, free from harassment and pointless arrest.
“Today the PSNI have exposed their anti-community crusade as they went about trying to disrupt activism that touched on the emotive issue of suicide, which has affected thousands of families across north Belfast and beyond. Shame on them and those who attempt to dress them up as a community force.”
* On Thursday an explosive device was reportedly found under a vehicle belonging to a member of the PSNI in Eglinton, Derry. The device, described by the PSNI as “viable”, was removed by a British Army disposal unit following an evacuation. There has been no claim of responsibility for the incident.