PSNI aggression in east Belfast
Heavy-handed raids by the PSNI police have led to angry
stand-offs with local residents in the nationalist enclaves of
The raids followed the death of a man who was stabbed in a
dispute outside a Belfast city centre pub on Sunday night.
Rab McCartney, from the republican Short Strand area of east
Belfast, was wounded in an incident involving up to five other
people and died on Monday in hospital.
Up to 20 PSNI units operating out of armoured vehicles carried
out violent raids in the Short Strand and Markets area this
week. They subsequently came under attack from crowds of local
Similar raids following the Northern Bank robbery before
Christmas have also raised tensions in republican areas of west
and north Belfast.
Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey condemned the PSNI actions, describing
the scale and approach of the operation as "completely
unacceptable and unjustifiable".
"The searches were carried out in a brutal, heavy-handed way
reminiscent of the types of raids carried out years ago by the
"This sort of heavy handed policing belongs in the past. However
in recent months it seems that the PSNI are increasingly
adopting the tactics employed for decades by the RUC in their
approach to republican and nationalist communities."
He said a tragic loss of life had been turned into a "political
point scoring exercise" as republicans were accused by political
opponents of preventing the arrest of suspects.
Contrary to some unionist allegations, the PSNI has said it does
not believe the Provisional IRA was involved in the stabbing
"No one interfered with the first searches or the investigation
but then the police arrived with Land Rovers and began kicking
republicans' doors in," Mr Maskey said.