Derry independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly has described a violent search of his home by the PSNI as an attempt to “placate” the DUP.
Mr Donnelly, a leading member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, was speaking after the police searched his home as part of investigations into the funeral of Peggy O’Hara, the mother of INLA hunger striker, Patsy O’Hara.
Up to 12 officers searched the house in Derry’s Creggan area before removing mobile phones and a Derry City and Strabane District Council laptop.
Councillor Donnelly was pictured among a number of people outside the Templegrove home of veteran republican Peggy O’Hara when a masked gunman fired a volley of shots over her coffin on Wednesday night.
Mr Donnelly said the PSNI never told him why they were searching his home.
“They never at any stage gave any reasons why it was being searched; they just told me they were looking for a mobile phone and a laptop and other storage devices,” he said.
Mr Donnelly was assaulted while attempting to phone his lawyer during the search. The Derry councillor said the PSNI then cautioned him for assault and obstruction of police officers.
The senior member of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee said his six-year-old son and two-year-old granddaughter as well as his partner were present in the house.
“I was in the bedroom getting my grandchild ready when I was confronted by armed police officers who informed me they were here to carry out a search under the Terrorism Act.
“When I went to phone my solicitor, I was assaulted by three officers.”
He said there was no logic to the action.
“If this is for Peggy O’Hara I can’t see the logic. I was there. I had no part in organising it. I am not affiliated to the organisation which would have organised that.
“I was there in a personal capacity and as a public representative to pay my respects. Are they going to do the same with elected representatives who witnessed loyalist rioting or who were present when someone fired shots?” he asked.
Raids were also carried out in north Armagh, south Armagh and north Belfast over the past week.
Republican Sinn Féin said three members of its Ard Chomhairle (leadership) were among five men arrested and detained this week as part of an ongoiung campaign of harassment and intimidation by the PSNI against republicans in Armagh, especially in the Lurgan/Craigavon area.
At least one had their home wrecked when the door was kicked in and another was assaulted during their arrest. The raids followed claims by the PSNI that it had been targeted in an elaborate “dummy bomb” attack near the railway line in Lurgan on Saturday.
“The nationalist community in north Armagh has suffered disproportionately at the hands of the British state forces for many years and the latest raids and arrests are part of the ongoing campaign to stamp out resistance to British rule in Ireland,” according to a statement from Republican Sinn Féin on Friday.
“The terror tactics employed by the RUC/PSNI included, in this instance, dozens of land rovers, special branch and riot squad.”
RSF also condemned the raids in Derry and the arrest of activists for organising a commemoration in Derry city at Easter 2015.
“The raids and arrests of people all over the Six Occupied Counties over the last week are an orchestrated attempt to appease the Unionist politicians and community,” they said.
“The Unionist and Loyalist community felt discontented with recent decisions made by the Parades Commission. As a consequence, the British establishment once again used the RUC/PSNI to terrorise Nationalist communities in the Six Occupied Counties to appease the Unionists”.