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British policing force attack Short Strand residents

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Police attack Irish youth in the Short Strand of Belfast (photo courtesy of éirígí).

Police attack Irish youth in the Short Strand of Belfast (photo courtesy of éirígí).

The Republican socialist group éirígí has released this press statement on the RUC/PSNI attacks on Irish residents in the Short Strand area of Belfast:

On Wednesday evening, at approximately 7.45pm, a small group of nationalist youths were gathered at the top of Mountpottinger Road in the Short Strand area of east Belfast when PSNI personnel arrived into the district and dispersed them for no apparent reason.

Meanwhile, the PSNI ignored a group of unionists who were illegally blockading the Castlereagh Road, not far from the Short Strand.

The unionists then moved on to the Mountpottinger Rodd and proceeded to take down a tricolour from a lamppost. Despite knowing the very obvious provocation that would ensue from this action, the PSNI chose not to take any action. The unionists then burned the flag in view of local residents and, inevitably, a short altercation ensued.

Instead of moving the unionists away from the interface area, PSNI personnel began attacking local residents – young and old, male and female – inflicting serious injuries as this “impartial police force” rampaged through the area.

This latest incident follows months of so-called flag protests when residents of the Short Strand had to endure weekly attacks on their area by unionists on their way to and from demonstrations in the city centre.

The flag controversy and continuing protests and attacks by unionists illustrate the continuing reality of the sectarian state – as does the accompanying partisan policing by the PSNI, which we are constantly told has changed beyond recognition. However, reality states differently.

The Short Strand is an area which has endured the wrath of unionist bigotry, aided and abetted by the crown forces, throughout the present conflict and beyond.

Residents are again fearful of what this year’s so-called marching season will bring.

While constitutional nationalist politicians cosy up to their unionist buddies at Stormont the people of the Strand hold their breath in anxious anticipation of the summer months and those carnivals of sectarianism and racism which are annually facilitated by the Parades Commission and the PSNI.

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