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BALLYMENA NATIONALISTS PROTEST AT PSNI BARRACKS

5 December, 2004


Local nationalists gathered at Ballymena‚s PSNI station over the weekend to protest at the ongoing harassment of young members of the nationalist community. The event was attended by 20-30 people, some of whom have been personally affected by the ongoing police campaign.

Speaking after the event, Ballymena Sinn Féin representative Michael Agnew said:

"In recent months the PSNI in North Antrim and Ballymena in particular have been engaged in a campaign of harassment against nationalists. This has included early morning raids on homes and general disruption being caused to local nationalists‚ everyday lives.

"The attendance of so many young people here today is an indication of who is suffering the brunt of this PSNI campaign. To actively recruit young people to spy on members of their own community and put them under such enormous stress is appallingly cruel.

"Because Sinn Féin gave support and guidance to these young people the police have stepped up their actions against republicans in the town as well. The mysterious Œdissident‚ threat to Ballymena has yet to materialise and was used as an excuse to raid ordinary nationalists‚ homes in Dunfane and Fisherwick. They have also concentrated their resources on demonising Sinn Féin and myself in recent weeks but none of this will not succeed. Nationalists in the town are not stupid and can see through their charades.

"If the PSNI were to concentrate as much time on tackling drug-dealers in this town as they do on their anti-republican PR campaign we wouldn't have such a big drugs problem on our hands. Its time that police members made in the mould of Bill Lowry and Ronnie Flanaghan did the honourable thing and retired. Political policing must come to an end if we are to properly address the problems that it has created in our society."ENDS

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