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PSNI use CS gas to attack Nationalist residents

7 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has accused the PSNI of attacking nationalist residents in Westland Gardens last night while at the same time giving protection to a loyalist mob attacking cars in the area.

Mr Kelly said:

" Last night a loyalist mob entered the Westland Gardens area and began slashing car tyres. Residents confronted the gang and tried their best to defend their property. When the PSNI arrived they attacked the nationalist residents and took no action against the loyalist mob whose presence had caused the original problem. A number of local people had to receive treatment from the effects of inhaling CS gas.

" This display of partisan political policing is unacceptable. As with recent Orange parades when the choice comes down to delivering impartial policing and confronting loyalist gangs or attacking nationalists in their own districts the PSNI will always opt to attack the nationalists. Time and again in North Belfast and indeed elsewhere this sort of behaviour typifies the PSNI approach.

" In the wake of the Policing Board whitewash report into the events of Ardoyne I challenged the SDLP to come into the area and defend the PSNI to the people. They rejected my challenge. I would repeat it again today. Is Alex Attwood prepared to face the nationalist residents of Westland and try to tell them that the current policing arrangements are acceptable? People judge the PSNI by their actions. Time and again across the six counties the PSNI by their actions show clearly to nationalists the distance which still must be travelled before we see an acceptable or accountable policing service." ENDS

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