18 April 2002 Edition

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Strabane Sinn Féin Councillor Danny Breslin has accused the RUC/PSNI of "running amok" following weekend incidents at the upper end of Railway Street in the town, in which several people were badly injured by riot clad and baton wielding officers of the force.

After speaking to several people who were in the area at the time of the incidents, Breslin said:

"Several people were badly injured by batons, including one teenager who was firstly beaten about the legs and arms before one officer approached him from behind and hit him with full force over the head, leaving a large gash.

"Members of the force also boarded a bus that had brought young people into the town to socialise and battered those on board.

"They also indiscriminately hit out at anyone in the vicinity and baton charged a large number of people across an adjacent car park.

"People were terrified, as members of the force seemed to be completely out of control. People say that there was a massive presence of the force in the vicinity of Railway Road over the entire weekend and the previous night there had been two squad cars and up to five jeeps driving slowly up and down the road. It was obvious that they were intent on provoking trouble.

"However, there was no trouble before the RUC/PSNI ran amok on Saturday night, just as large numbers of young people were leaving social venues after a night out.

"This incident once again highlights the contempt this force has for the population of this overwhelmingly nationalist town and is proof, if proof were needed, that the leopard hasn't changed its spots."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1