13 June 1997 Edition

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RUC punish community

By Martha McClelland

Residents in the Foyle Road area of Derry were furious at an unprovoked RUC attack on local youngsters on Tuesday. The district was occupied after the IRA fired on a plainclothes British Army patrol travelling through the area in an unmarked vehicle.

There was no trouble until extra RUC Land Rovers arrived as chidren were coming home from school. A few threw stones, which bounced harmlessly off the jeeps' armour plating.

After a white van, suspected of being used in the IRA attack, was towed away, the British Army withdrew. However, the RUC remained. Nothing happened for nearly half an hour and then dozens of RUC in riot gear, including plastic bullet guns, burst out of the jeeps and formed squads of a dozen or more in the tiny area. They advanced on the youngsters - the eldest was aged about 13 - and some picked up stones and shouting ``Fenian bastards'', threw them at the youngsters. One RUC man's stone broke a window in Bishop Street.

One15 year old lad whom locals say was a bystander, was grabbed by the throat by an RUC man who threatened to ``take him away.'' They'd already begun to put handcuffs on him before his cousin and neighbours rescued him. The RUC were preparing to fire plastic bullets on groups of youngsters when, at around 5 pm, they were ordered out of the area.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1