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SDLP challenged over support for CS gas

17 August, 2004

Reacting to reports that the PSNI again fired CS gas on three occasions over the weekend Sinn Féin spokesperson on Human Rights Caitriona Ruane said that it was clear that predictions made by Sinn Féin and others that the PSNI would enthusiastically use this gas had unfortunately come true.

Ms Ruane said:

" When the SDLP and others on the Policing Board issued the PSNI with CS gas Sinn Féin predicted that the PSNI would enthusiastically use this new weapon of repression. Unfortunately this prediction has come true. Over the weekend this poisonous gas was once again deployed on three separate occasions. The reintroduction of CS gas is a throwback to the days when the Civil Rights movement was brutally beaten off the streets by the PSNI predecessors in the RUC.

" It is not surprising that a force which remains unaccoutable and which contains at its core those with a long record of human rights abuses would relish the opportunity to have at its disposal another weapon of repression to go alongside plastic bullet guns.

" We hear much from the SDLP about the new beginning to policing and their record on the Policing Board. We hear little from them about their continuing support for the deployment of repressive weapons such as CS gas." ENDS

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