Sinn Fein complain of ‘heavy-handed tactics against women’ in Londonderry

Sinn Fein has complained about the way police conduct themselves in Londonderry, after an operation throughout the day to disrupt the New IRA.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 10:22 pm
The Sinn Fein tweet complaining about police behaviour

Sinn Fein has complained about the way police conduct themselves in Londonderry, after an operation throughout the day to disrupt the New IRA.

They specifically complained about “heavy handed” treatment towards women during what appeared to be a tense confrontation between officers and members of the public.

The PSNI operation centred on the Creggan district in the west of the city, and police said their main focus was trying to unravel the group’s bomb-making capability, and find dangerous material like explosives which dissidents had hidden.

The PSNI said that throughout the day “sinister elements connected to violent dissident republicans manipulated local youths into attacking police and disrupting today’s search activity”.

A number of videos are circulating online showing youths filling a street as Land Rovers drive past, and attacking a stationary Land Rover with objects, one of which appeared to have been a petrol bomb-type device.

In another video, a couple of females are seen confronting male officers.

One claps and appears to point and cheer in the officer’s face, and when the officer tries to move them on with an open-palm movement, one of the females seems to react angrily to being touched.

A thud is heard, but it is not clear what caused it, and a physical altercation ensues, with lots of shoving.

Some other women join in, as do other police.

A policeman’s mask and baton and some kind of belt appear to come loose in the fray.

A woman is then taken back behind police lines and restrained on the ground by three policemen as a crowd screams and roars.

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan issued a statement saying: “I am deeply concerned following reports of heavy-handed policing during an incident in Creggan today.

“The PSNI have questions to answer over scenes which appeared on social media showing officers using heavy-handed tactics on women.

“This has become symptomatic of how the PSNI carry out policing operations in Creggan and a concern which we have continually raised.

“The public rightly expects the very highest policing standards and we will hold the police to account when their actions fail to meet those standards.

“We will be raising these concerns directly with the local leadership of the PSNI.”

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson said: “Plainly no fan of republicans in Creggan, but have seen a video of the PSNI throwing a woman to the ground & aggressively pushing her face with the palm of his hand.

“Appears on first viewing an extremely disproportionate & needless action. All too typical of out of control PSNI.”

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