3 December 2009 Edition

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Loyalists attack Ógra Basque demo... and then chat to the PSNI

AN Ógra Shinn Féin protest in Dungannon was the target of fascist thugs at the weekend.
South and East Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin had organised a protest in solidarity with the 34 youth activists arrested in the Basque Country recently. The protest had been going for about 15 minutes when a number of men approached the protest. Shouting sectarian abuse and clearly drunk, they hurled sectarian abuse at the Ógra members.
When the members of Ógra continued with the protest they were physically attacked. One member of the gang wore a BNP badge on a polo shirt with a loyalist paramilitary crest on it. After assaulting a number of Ógra members the attackers ran off.
Members of the PSNI arrived on the scene following a call from a member of the public. When they arrived they took the details of the Ógra members and searched one member under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. By this time members of the gang which attacked Ógra were seen openly talking to members of the PSNI nearby.

A spokesperson from South and East Tyrone Ógra said:
“We had gathered in solidarity with Basque young people who were arrested in recent days for undertaking peaceful political activity. These arrests were part of a partisan political offensive on the pro-independence movement in the Basque Country. This concerted offensive, particularly against the the youth movement, must end.
“Whilst showing our opposition to these arrests, we, ourselves became the targets of a unwarranted assault. The thugs who attacked the protest on Saturday have shown their true colours. Sectarian bigots like those we experienced have nothing to offer society.
“It is also unacceptable that, rather than arrest those responsible the PSNI actually engaged in casual conversation with the culprits. Whilst this was going on, members of Ógra were having their details taken and one of our members was being searched under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The disparity between the treatment of these fascist thugs and the Ógra members is extraordinary.
“A number of our members are preparing cases for the Police Ombudsman’s office and have already been in touch with our elected representatives sitting on the local District Policing Partnerships.”
The Ógra spokesperson said young republicans will not be put off from organising further events.
“We will undertake actions in a manner, subject and location of our choosing. We will not be intimidated off the streets.”

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