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13 March 1997 Edition

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More attacks on Derry's nationalists

By Stephen Delaney

Over 200 loyalists backed by the RUC attacked nationalists as they left the Ritz bar in Derry's Waterside on Saturday night 8 March. The situation has now been continuing for several months and Sinn Féin's Waterside candidate Lynn Fleming has warned if it continues someone is sure to be killed.

The organised loyalist crowd, many of them bused in from outside the city, chanted sectarian slogans and threw missiles at nationalists as they left the Spencer Road nightspot. When nationalists attempted to return to the bar for cover their path was blocked by the RUC. The nationalists were then threatened with plastic bullets and by RUC members wielding batons.

Lynn Fleming described it as ``a joint RUC/loyalist campaign'' being directed against nationalists in the Waterside. ``The RUC refused to allow those who were leaving the bar to go back into the premises for safety and instead forced everyone up Fountain Hill irrespective of where they wished to go. This had serious implications for those people who then had to make their own way home afterwards''.

Fleming added, ``Recent calls from certain elected representatives for an increased RUC presence in the area ignore the reality that not only are the RUC unwilling to deal with the threat posed by organised loyalism, but this sectarian force is actively colluding in the harassment and intimidation of the nationalist community.''
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