Outrage as march forced through Lurgan centre
For the second time this week, the PSNI police have ignored a
Parades Commission determination and forced an anti-Catholic
parade through a nationalist community.
Last (Tuesday) night, the PSNI allowed a mob of unionist
paramilitaries and their supporters to blockade Lurgan in County
Armagh following a parade by the Royal Black Preceptory, a
quasi-religious organisation linked to the Orange Order.
From 6pm nationalists were unable to enter Lurgan town centre.
The march through the Market Street area of the town was led by
the local paramilitary LVF along with DUP Councillor Jonathan
After the blockade was finally lifted the PSNI wsere seen to
attack nationalists congregating in the area.
Lurgan PSNI base was subsequently attacked by a crowd of
nationalists throwing petrol bombs and bricks as anger lingered
over the handling of the march.
Local Sinn Fein representative John O'Dowd said the events in
Lurgan were a "mirror image" of the PSNI's actions in north
Belfast on the previous night.
"Over the past two days the PSNI have on two occasions took it
upon themselves to overturn Parades Commission determinations.
On both occasions the nationalist community ended up being
hemmed in and attacked by the PSNI," he said.
"It is clear that one law operates for unionists and another for
nationalists and republicans."
Supporters of the Black Perceptory were also blamed for carrying
out an attack on a female Catholic taxi driver in Lurgan on
Tuesday morning. Despite a very heavy deployment of British
forces in the town for the parade, her vehicle was stoned in the
town centre. Locals said no effort was made to apprehend the
Mr O'Dowd said he and party colleagues later had to personally
intervene to prevent PSNI land rovers "mowing down" a group
He said the events raised "very serious issues both for the
future of parading and the future of policing".
"Unionists within the PSNI with the support of unionists within
the local British administration were once again dictating the
parading and policing agenda.
"This is unacceptable and must raise questions for those parties
and individuals who continue to promote the PSNI to nationalists
as an acceptable and accountable policing service."
He also called on the SDLP to consider their support for the
local District Policing Partnership.
"Over the past week two senior SDLP members one in Larne and one
in Belfast have said that they are considering their positions
with regard to DPPs and the Policing Board itself.
"I would now challenge the SDLP DPP members in Upper Bann to do
likewise in the light of last nights disgraceful PSNI operation."