19 January 2006 Edition

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Ógra demand end to PSNI harassment

Fifteen months after their arrest, two Ógra Shinn Féin activists, John McDermot from Strabane and Daniel Turnbull from Omagh have appeared in court charged with obstruction, disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest.

At the time of their arrest in September 2004 Sinn Féin in Omagh accused the PSNI of heavy-handed tactics after a number of protestors were beaten with batons and the two arrested at a peaceful protest against a British Army PR exercise at the Silver Birches Hotel.

Both men were released after two hours following a protest in which 100 people blocked the main entrance to Omagh PSNI Barracks.

Turnbull and McDermott appeared at Omagh Court House on Thursday 5 January. In order to coincide with the appearance, Ógra Shinn Féin held a solidarity protest which also aimed to highlight ongoing political harassment by the PSNI. Omagh Town Councillor Martin McColgan, Seán Begley and Barry McElduff MLA attended the protest.

Ógra Six-County Organiser Barry McColgan said: "The ongoing harassment and intimidation of Ógra activists and young nationalists and republicans across the North and especially here in Tyrone is totally unacceptable. I would call on all the main political parties and right-thinking people to condemn this ongoing campaign of politically-motivated harassment. We demand an end to this political policing."

The verdict on the trial of the two Ógra activists will be announced on Wednesday 18 January.

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