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PSNI attack Sinn Fein Councillor with CS gas

12 July, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA for Upper Bann John O Dowd has described the attack by the PSNI on a Sinn Féin Councillor in Lurgan last night as police brutality and the sign of a force out of control in the Co Armagh town.

Mr O Dowd said,

"At around 11.30 pm on the night of the 11th of July, Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Tallon, responded to reports of disturbances in Lurgan town centre. When he arrived on the scene there were a number of nationalist youths being assaulted by members of the PSNI. As Cllr Tallon tried to calm the situation a PSNI officer who called him by name sprayed CS spray directly in his face.

"Despite being physically sick as a result of the attack Cllr Tallon remained in the area in a bid to bring calm to a very tense situation.

"It has since transpired that three nationalist youths have been arrested for allegedly removing loyalist bunting which had been erected illegally earlier in the day under the full gaze of the PSNI.

"As I arrived on the scene a large number of PSNI in riot gear were sealing off the town centre. Not to prevent further disturbances but in their words "to protect the bunting‰ and to allow around 20 loyalists to move in and erect further bunting and flags.

"Last night in Lurgan we have had 3 nationalist youths arrested for allegedly removing bunting and on the other hand we have again witnessed the PSNI providing protection for loyalists as they erect bunting and flags. Surely even this most ardent supporter of the PSNI must accept there is something seriously wrong within that scenario." ENDS

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