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14 August 2003 Edition

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Thousands call for truth on collusion

The hard work put into organising Sunday's rally at Belfast City Hall paid off. One of the largest republican rallies in Belfast City Centre in recent times saw upwards of 10,000 people gather in front of the City Hall to hear Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams call on people to keep fighting for the truth.

The theme of this year's rally focused on collusion between the British government and unionist death squads and among the thousands in attendance were relatives of hundreds of people assassinated by the death squads. In a moving and visual display of the cost the nationalist community has paid in lives over the past 35 years of conflict, relatives carried portraits of the hundreds of people killed by the pro-British gangs.

At City Hall Adams, in a moving and stimulating speech, encouraged the families and friends of the dead to carry on in their fight for justice.

"This issue is not going to go away. We are going to ensure that it doesn't go away," he said. "The hundreds of families whose loved ones were assassinated at the behest of the state deserve justice

Calling on the British government to "come clean" over its involvement, Adams said, "hundreds were killed and many more injured and maimed in a campaign of state sponsored murder.

"The families of those who died as a result of a collusion policy have a right to the truth and in their pursuit of the truth deserve the support of the whole community."

Pointing out that some people would highlight the fact that the IRA had killed innocent people during the conflict, Adams warned however that the British government could not be allowed to escape the responsibility for its involvement in the killing of its own citizens."

Martin Mallon, whose elderly aunt Roseanne was shot dead by loyalists in May 1994, also spoke at the rally. He called for "full accountability about the killing and all the facts to be laid bare for the world and everyone to see.

"We were often told that the job of the so-called security forces is to protect life and save life. Like so many of you here, we know this to be false. In the murder of Roseanne, they oversaw the killing and let the killers go. They were there to make sure the attack and killing took place."

In the days prior to the killing of the pensioner just outside Dungannon in County Tyrone, suspicious activity involving the crown forces was uncovered. In the aftermath of her killing, surveillance cameras recording activity around the scene of Roseanne's killing were also uncovered.

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Maskey accused the PSNI of "being up to their old tricks" after he confronted PSNI members who were videotaping marchers as they passed Andersonstown PSNI barracks on Sunday. Maskey angrily complained that "the PSNI were simply gathering intelligence by video recording those on a peaceful and legal march. At one point, the PSNI were calling out the names of people on the march so as to identify them for the camera.

"The fact that at other stages in the parade there were PSNI Land Rovers with surveillance cameras mounted on them to record the marchers adds to the weight of evidence against the RUC and PSNI over the issue of collusion.

"In the middle of a peace process, you would think the PSNI would have stopped their intelligence gathering operations."

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