20 February 1997 Edition

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Loyalist mob run riot in Waterside

By Joe Delaney

Nationalists in the Waterside area of Derry say the RUC turned a blind eye to one of the worst instances of intimidation in the area in recent months.

A mob of over 100 loyalists surrounded a Nationalist bar in Duke Street last Saturday night, threatened patrons and chanted sectarian slogans, said Sinn Fein's Lynn Fleming, who witnessed the incident.

Customers, in fear of their lives, remained locked in the premises for over an hour as the RUC in armoured vehicles watched on unconcerned.

A Catholic man walking towards a taxi depot was caught by the gang who dragged him by the feet into an alleyway and jumped on his legs, body and head. He was only saved after local night club bouncers intervened. He suffered a broken jaw, cheekbone and ribs.

The mob, who are believed to be from Newbuildings, several miles outside the city, have been roaming the Waterside area for the past months in search of Catholics coming home from night spots.

``Children attending the youth club on the Dungiven Road have also been targeted,'' Fleming said.''Masked men armed with cudgels and claiming to be loyalist paramilitaries confronted the youngsters. The situation has become so serious that community facilities such as taxi ranks and restaurants in the area are closing early. These latest incidents, in conjunction with homes being petrol bombed, mark an escalation in the sectarian actions of organised loyalism and I would urge nationalists to exercise caution and vigilance.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1