Veteran republicans arrested

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Two republican activists including a former Blanketman are being held without bail following a Crown Force operation in Belfast.

The two men, Nick Donnelly and Gary McNally (pictured), may now be facing the same internment by remand that has seen many prominent republicans detained without trial in recent years.

The Irish Anti-Internment Committee said the detentions are part of a colonialist tactic of legal institutions being used a “means of removing unwanted members of the public”. It said it would be holding an awareness-raising public picket in Dublin on Saturday.

Saoradh and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association extended their support to the two men.

“Both men have been Republican activists for decades, and are well respected across the Republican spectrum,” they said.

“This latest attack on Nick and Gary, as well as the other two men detained by Crown Forces, are just the latest in a series of attacks on Republicans and their families as part of a concerted MI5-directed campaign.

“Both are now headed for the domestically and internationally condemned Maghaberry prison regime where they will face a repressive and draconian regime. As an ex-Blanketman this sort of regime will be nothing new to Gary.

“While UVF brigadiers are bailed within days after being caught with weapons and ammunition, both men now join the ranks of Republicans interned by remand for years on the strength of ‘evidence’ collated by faceless and nameless individuals exempt from any of the supposed ‘accountability measures’ that Sinn Féin used to sell policing to the Republican base.

“This comparison is stark, striking and will not escape the notice of the majority within Republican communities that continue to reject the PSNI and MI5.

“Nick Donnelly and Gary McNally deserve the support of all those within the Nationalist and Republican community as they face a prolonged period away from their loved ones as part of a Brit agenda to silence all those opposed to the continued occupation and partition of our country.”

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