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22 November 2001 Edition

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RUC/PSNI attack North Belfast nationalists

Sinn Féin councillor Eoin Ó Broin has accused the RUC/PSNI of indulging in unprovoked violence after they attacked nationalists in Newington Street last Sunday, 18 November.

Two people, a woman and a man, were beaten as they stood at their front doors by members of the RUC\PSNI who charged into the street. The woman suffered a serious hand injury, while the man was hospitalised with a suspected broken ankle.

Ó Broin said the RUC\PSNI had moved into the Limestone Road area after rioting, provoked by loyalists from Tiger's Bay, who carried out hit and run attacks on nationalist homes before retreating back into the loyalist enclave.

"Through Saturday and Sunday the loyalists came out of Tiger's Bay to attack homes. They would then retreat but not before nationalist residents had come onto the streets," said Ó Broin. "Usually the RUC\PSNI form a buffer between the nationalists and the loyalists, but on Sunday they took a more aggressive attitude.

"Although there was trouble throughout Sunday it was sporadic and fairly low key. However it did get worse on Sunday at 9pm. When the RUC\PSNI moved in they were aggressive and turned on nationalists at the junction of Newington Street and Limestone Road. A number of people were injured."

Also in North Belfast, since the weekend, up to six bomb attacks were carried out by loyalists on nationalist homes. Most of the attacks were carried out on houses at the back of Rosapenna Street, with bombs being thrown from the loyalist Oldpark district.

The first bomb was thrown into the back of a house occupied by a woman in her 60s at 11pm on Sunday night, 18 November. The device exploded causing slight damage to the property, although no one was injured.

The following night houses on Rosapenna Street were again attacked when four explosive devices were thrown at houses. Two devices were thrown over the peace wall at the back of the houses and in a follow up attack, two bombs were then thrown from a passing car at the front of the houses.

"It seems", said Ó Broin, "that the second attacks were designed to catch residents as they fled their homes following the first explosions."

Meanwhile, 13 Catholic houses on the Whitewell Road were attacked by loyalist petrol bombers operating from the White City area. The trouble erupted at the weekend with loyalists raining petrol bombs onto the houses on Serpentine Gardens. Three families who have been under constant threat from loyalist attackers and whose homes have been under repeated attack have now decided to move.

One mother of five said: "When I moved into this house six years ago people told me I was mad because the woman who lived here before me had been forced to leave. Since I came here we have been pipe bombed, paint bombed and now this.

"The first year of Drumcree I was left without a single window. Well I've decided now to get the hell out of here. Enough is enough. I can't go on living like this."

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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
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