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1 May 2003 Edition

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Outrage at police raids in Downpatrick

Sinn Féin has expressed outrage at a number of pre-dawn police raids on the homes of three senior republican activists in Downpatrick, County Down.

During the raids, that lasted for over two hours, items of clothing and internal, confidential Sinn Féin memos were stolen.

One of the houses targeted by the RUC/PSNI was that of Liam Johnson, Sinn Féins nominated Assembly candidate for Strangford, who expressed his anger and disgust at the raid.

Johnson stated: ≥Yet again, republicans in Downpatrick have been subjected to the åjackbootπ polices of a corrupt and discredited police force. The raid on my home was illegal as the warrant, that should have been signed by a police inspector, was left unsigned. My home was unoccupied at the time of the raid yet the documentation left by the RUC/PSNI stated that I was present.

Effectively, my house has been broken into by agents of the state who like common thieves, gained access through a window, ransacked my home and stole items of clothing and confidential Sinn Féin documentation. The much vaunted new beginning to policing is nothing but a charade and an accountable and democratic police service in the Six Counties still seems a long way off.

Downpatrick Assembly candidate Councillor Eammon McConvey echoed these comments and demanded that the stolen items be returned immediately.
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