23 October 1997 Edition

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Young people targeted

RUC harassment of young nationalists across the Six Counties has risen dramatically during the last number of weeks. Both Sinn Féin Youth activists and ordinary nationalist youth have been targeted.

On 2 September several young people from Ardoyne in North Belfast claim that both the RUC and British Army threw stones and bottles from the inside of landrovers.

On 20 September British paratroopers stationed at the Old Park Barracks physically assaulted four youths aged 15, 16, 14, and 15, and made derogatory remarks about their families.

On 3 October a North Belfast youth was hospitalised after being hit on the head with a rock which had been thrown from a British army landrover. This was followed by three days of constant petty harassment from the 6th to the 8th as youths were stopped and threatened with legal action for jay walking.

On 10 October a young nationalist was badly beaten by the RUC as he left a city centre bar. The man left the bar and was waiting for a taxi when he was attacked by several RUC men. He was subsequently brought to Grosvenor Road barracks and charged with disorderly behaviour. The 20 year old received stitches to his head in the Royal Victoria Hospital several hours later, and is currently seeking legal action.

Reports have also been received by An Phoblacht that British army soldiers stationed in North Belfast continually provoke young people coming from youth clubs with verbal harassment and waving of Union Jacks.

Sinn Féin Youth spokesperson Eoin O'Broin told An Phoblacht that ``what seems to be developing is a pattern whereby young people are being constantly harassed and provoked by members of both the RUC and British army. The situation is particularly bad in North Belfast, where in Ardoyne and Old Park this is a nightly occurrence. Why at a time when we are all working so hard to build the peace process and resolve this conflict are crown forces intent on provoking our young people. It should stop immediately.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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