The PSNI (formerly RUC) police have marked the 20th anniversary of their rebranding by attempting to provoke some nationalist youths into violence, while at the same time recruiting others to act as spies.
On the eve of the widely publicised anniversary, the PSNI confronted nationalists in West Belfast as a loyalist disturbance was taking place on the other side of a sectarian interface.
There was a tense standoff after PSNI riot squads arrived with armoured jeeps fitted with telescopic cameras, but without serious trouble.
Armoured PSNI vehicles were then deployed almost a mile away to the international wall on the Falls Road, where they again proceeded to antagonise young nationalists standing on the street corner, generating feelings of disgust and anger.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement described the actions as “a coordinated and politically motivated stunt”.
“Was this the PSNI making a point that 20 years after their rebranding, they remain as sectarian and politically motivated as ever, that behind the veiled name of the PSNI they are still the RUC?
“Anyone still giving this armed wing of the British government political cover and support need to have a serious look at themselves and what they are creating in their own areas.
“The PSNI is no different from the RUC or the RIC before them, it remains the same sectarian force whose sole aim is to uphold and defend British rule in these occupied counties.”
Meanwhile, Saoradh reported that three bids to recruit nationalists as informers took place in the space of 24 hours in parts of Newry and Derry.
On both occasions in Newry, a contact card was given to republican activists with a number to call.
Saoradh’s Newry representative Stephen Murney said “20 years to the day since the RUC received a lick of paint they are proving by their own actions that they are simply the same old wine in new bottles.
“The sinister thing about this latest approach is that the activist was attending an appointment at the time. It’s clear that he is under surveillance by the British Forces of occupation who clearly knew the time and location of where he would be.
“I spoke with this Republican following his ordeal. He is unfazed by this morning’s incident and is committed to continuing with his political activism.”
The PSNI’s actions come despite public hand-wringing over the failure of the force to win the support of the nationalist community.
More than three in four new PSNI members are still Protestant due to the British government’s failure to bring about the reform of policing promised in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.