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11 June 1998 Edition

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Harassment increases

RIR and RUC harassment and attacks on Nationalists in Craigavon have escalated in recent weeks.

Local man Eddie Breen was followed by an RUC landrover last Thursday 4 June as he drove home. As the jeep overtook him an RUC man fired a shot over his car. This was later confirmed by a security guard at a nearby block of flats. Breen has been intimidated and assaulted numerous times in the past by crown forces. He explained that the latest incident occurred when he was stopped in his car by a joint RUC/RIR patrol. When he protested at this, an almost daily occurrence, an RIR man punched him in the face.

Other acts of aggression include firing a plastic bullet in Drumbeg North, near Lurgan last Thursday 4 June at a group of 8 to 10 year olds playing football. The British soldiers then laughed and jeered as the children rushed out of their homes to protest. The previous week another group of young children were verbally abused by RUC men calling them `Fenian sluts.'

SF Upper Bann Assembly candidate Dara O'Hagan has called for complete demilitarisation and the disbandment of the RUC. ``These unionist militias have no positive role to play in the development of a new inclusive, democratic society,'' she said.

Commenting on the harassment and forcible searching of her Director of Election, Sinn Fein councillor John O'Dowd, on Tuesday, 9 June, by a joint British army/ RUC patrol she added that this treatment of party members is ``totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.'' She confirmed that O'Dowd had lodged a complaint with his solicitor and would be taking the RUC man involved to court for assault.

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