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British Military operation prevented political progress

31 July, 2007


Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said that when the British Army arrived on the streets in 1969 that it quickly became clear that it would be an oppressive force and was going to be used against one section of the community to maintain British rule.

Mr Kelly said:

"When the British Army arrived in the north in 1969 it quickly became clear that it would be an oppressive force and would be used against the nationalist community to maintain British rule.

"While the so-called Operation Banner had been in response to the Loyalist pogroms against the nationalist community, that had been supported the B-Specials and RUC, the brutalisation of nationalists across the north caused huge suffering.

"The British military was part of the security response to a situation that was political. It was a response that included torture, shoot-to-kill and collusion with Loyalist death squads. The security response failed.

"The tactics used by the British Army here are the same as the ones being deployed in Iraq today and the consequences can be seen by everyone.

"It was only when republicans forced the British government to admit that the conflict would only be resolved through political negotiations that progress was achieved." ENDS

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