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SDLP challenged over PSNI Lurgan operation

14 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for upper Bann John O'Dowd has challenged the SDLP representatives in the area to follow the lead of senior party colleagues and consider their positions on the DPP after the disgraceful policing operation put in place in Lurgan last night.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Last night in Lurgan the PSNI overturned a Parades Commission determination and forced a Black Perceptory Parade through the Market Street area of the town. They then allowed a loyalist mob led by the local LVF along with DUP Councillor Jonathan Bell to blockade the town. From 6pm nationalists were unable to enter Lurgan town centre.

"After the blockade was finally lifted the PSNI attacked nationalists congregating in North Street. Party colleagues and myself had to intervene to prevent PSNI land rovers mowing down a group of young nationalists.

"Over the past two days the PSNI have on two occasions took it upon themselves to overturn Parades Commission determinations. On both occasions the nationalist community ended up being hemmed in and attacked by the PSNI. It is clear that one law operates for unionists and another for nationalists and republicans.

"Over the past week two senior SDLP members one in Larne and one in Belfast have said that they are considering their positions with regard to DPPs and the Policing Board itself. I would now challenge the SDLP DPP members in Upper Bann to do likewise in the light of last nights disgraceful PSNI operation." ENDS

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