Yesterday afternoon as Doire IRPWA held a successful anti Internment protest at Strand Road RUC barracks in relation to the arrest and subsequent Internment of Neil Hegarty, two Saoradh activists based at Junior McDaid House were making their way to the protest when they were stopped by Crown Forces personnel in a blatant case of political repression.
The two hard-working activists were waiting in traffic when an armoured RUC patrol car passed them. Within minutes they noticed a number of armed militiamen running between the waiting traffic before jumping in front of their car and aggressively demanding they turned the engine off and get out of the car.
As both Saoradh members got out they remonstrated that the Crown Forces could have caused an accident by their behaviour. Despite explaining this the two men were immediately quoted draconian anti-terror legislation and were subjected to a personal search and a search of the car.
As these searches were taking place further armoured cars arrived on the scene accompanied by an armoured LandRover filled with the notorious Tactical Support Group. While watching the search a senior TSG exclaimed he wasn’t happy with what he was seeing and demanded one of the activists be searched again and a further search of the car take place. This resulted in a 40-minute search in busy lunchtime traffic.
Despite the Saoradh activists and their car being searched multiple times extensively, both men were then detained and took to Waterside RUC barracks to be subjected to degrading strip searches by TSG personnel. The car they were travelling in was also seized and driven erratically to the same RUC barracks where it was ripped apart. Door panels, speakers and headrests were all removed and the car left in a state of disrepair.
Once the heavily armed British militia completed their degrading strip search, one of the activists was then further detained and arrested for two counts of provocative conduct.
The activist in question was then transported to Strand Road RUC barracks once the IRPWA anti Internment protest had ended. While at Strand Road barracks he was interviewed in relation to the window display at Junior McDaid House, dubbed Mr Frosty, and an adjoining poster. Subsequently, the man was charged with two counts of provocative conduct and permitting the images on display.
Speaking out against political repression, Saoradh Doire spokesman, Patrick Gallagher, said “As Republicans joined together to highlight an unjust and unfair policy of Internment, two activists were being forcibly strip-searched by Crown Forces. Harassment like this is nothing new to Republicans. We face a daily battle with British Police as we try to live our lives but on the word of two British administers within Sinn Fein, Raymond McCartney and Elisha McCallion, these battles have increased. Tactics such as this by the British war machine in Ireland has failed in the past and they will continue to fail today. “
We encourage anyone who finds themselves facing similar harassment or intimidation at the hands of the British State to contact your local Saoradh representative or call to our offices at 14 Chamberlain Street. Alternatively, you can contact us via Facebook or phone.