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9 July 1998 Edition

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RUC assault on Short Strand

A 76 year old man was batoned across the face by an RUC man in the Short Strand area of Belfast on Monday night 6 July when he went to the aid of his pregnant daughter-in-law, who had been assaulted by the RUC man.

The pensioner, Johnny Doherty, sustained a bruised and swollen eye in the attack.

The assault on the small nationalist community came after a weapon and ammunition were found by the RUC at the rear of a house in Clyde Court.

The police, in full riot gear, swamped the area and blocked the residents from getting into their homes or leaving the streets.

Two schoolgirls, Siobhan Murray (14) and Paula McCrory (16), were fortunate to escape with only minor injuries after they were crushed between a car and a RUC landrover. A young child had his foot injured when a RUC jeep ran over him.

A riot broke out as a result of this activity and the RUC responded with plastic bullets.

Another resident said that the RUC ``battered women and children and pinned people to the railings. They did the same last year around the time of Drumcree.''

Doherty's daughter-in-law, Martina McDonnell said, ``The number of people injured was ridiculous. They were ramming people with jeeps. It was as if they were trying to provoke the nationalists into a response because of what is happening in Drumcree.''

A Saoirse banner was also taken down by the RUC during the raid. They claimed that they were acting on instructions from the DOE but the department has since denied this.

Joe O'Donnell, SF's East Belfast representative, said that in recent days ``the residents of this and other nationalist areas of Belfast were exposed to loyalist mob violence, in many cases taking place in front of the RUC. The RUC, in raiding the Short Strand, has decided to overlook the loyalist threats and begin raiding what was up until this point a peaceful nationalist area.''

 


The Orange Order, in one of a series of illegal marches, paraded past the Short Strand on Tuesday 7 July, taunting the residents as they went by.
Crown forces had erected a number of screens virtually enclosing the small enclave for most of the day.
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