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PSNI collude with LVF to erect loyalist flags in nationalist area of Lurgan

1 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd has accused the PSNI of colluding with known loyalist paramilitaries in Lurgan last night to facilitate the erection of loyalist flags in the nationalist end of the town.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Last night at around 9pm the a heavy PSNI presence including up to six landrovers moved into the nationalist end of Lurgan. The town was effectively sealed off and nationalists were prevented from walking on their own streets.

"The purpose of this PSNI operation was to allow known members of the LVF to erect loyalist flags on lamp posts the whole length of the town centre. When the PSNI were challenged by myself and other local councillors we were verbally and physically abused.

" The senior PSNI officer on the ground claimed that they were policing an agreement on flags made at Craigavon council. This claim is a complete an absolute lie. When I pointed this fact out he then claimed then PSNI

operation was to prevent a breach of the peace.

"Sinn Féin have videoed the PSNI conduct last night and we will be pursuing a full Police Ombudsman investigation. Other individuals assaulted by the PSNI will also be seeking redress. The PSNI attempted to steal cameras from local people recording the events.

"Last night the PSNI displayed their true colours. They stood shoulder to shoulder with the LVF and were quite happy doing so. Also conspicuous by their absence was the local SDLP representatives who of course fully endorse this type of partisan political policing.

"Last nights events have caused much anger in Lurgan and demonstrate just how far we still have to travel to before we reach the point of an acceptable and accountable policing service." ENDS

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