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7 August 1997 Edition

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RUC assaults nationalists

NATIONALISTS INVOLVED IN A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION against an Orange march in the County Fermanagh village of Newtownbutler were assaulted by a large force of RUC last Sunday 3 August. The RUC moved against the nationalists at about 5pm as they gathered on the main street to protest against a planned Black Perceptory march.

According to Kevin Lawrenceson, the residents spokesperson, the RUC officer in charge of the operation told the nationalists to ``get to the bottom of the street or else''.

The nationalists had moved up the street towards a group of houses occupied by nationalists and where the RUC lines were positioned and although they were standing on the pavement the RUC still threatened them.

Said Lawrenceson, ``there was about 50 RUC jeeps and about 250 RUC, they were lined up with riot gear and when they moved against us they just beat and kicked people down the street. Six people were badly beaten and another seven received lesser injuries.

``This is an 86% nationalist village and the RUC acted like the armed wing of the Black Perceptory. They curfewed the village and beat up our residents to facilitate a march consisting of people who don't even live here''.

Of those injured two were stretchered away, one man had his neck strapped up and a woman, who was visiting her daughters who live in the main street was ``savagely beaten, the RUC were stamping on her stomach'', said Lawrenceson.

A steward who went to the woman's aid had his lip and tongue split while a 12 year old boy was also slapped about by the RUC.

Newtownbutler nationalists had organised their demonstration after the Black Perceptory refused to negotiate a solution to the marches issue and walked away from talks with the residents last Wednesday.

Residents of the village are to meet on Thursday evening to discuss a Black Perceptory march in the town this Saturday but are angry that the Orangemen closed the door on talks last week. Sunday's RUC action has also angered nationalists who say the action has left an open wound.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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