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30 August 2001 Edition

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RUC baton nationalists in Ballycastle

Sinn Féin Ballycastle representative Philip McGuigan has accused the RUC of heavyhanded tactics in forcibly removing local residents from a peaceful public meeting in Ballycastle at the weekend.

On Saturday, the RUC broke up a public meeting at the junction of Atlantic Avenue and Rathlin Road. The gathering was called to express concern at the loyalist parades taking place throughout the town.

Maguire said that residents had informed the RUC that they intended to hold a peaceful meeting and then disperse. As so often in recent months, however, the RUC ignored the residents' requests and moved in using Land Rovers and batons to force people off the road.

A local resident told An Phoblacht: ``We came here to voice our concerns over sectarian parades taking place in our town. We told the RUC that it would be peaceful and they turned on us. What does that tell you about our new impartial police force? Nationalists have been attacked by the RUC on their own streets to allow a group of anti-Catholic bigots flaunt their sectarian regalia in the face of people who don't want them in their area.''

Two SDLP councillors who stood by and watched as the RUC forced local residents from the area, failing to intervene, have also been strongly criticised.

``The two councillors stood by and watched as the RUC batoned innocent people. You have to ask is this how they plan to act when they take up their positions on the proposed Policing Boards?'' said McGuigan.
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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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