Yesterday [October 26] saw the first court appearance of éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.
éirígí members and supporters held a protest outside the British courthouse in Newry in solidarity with Stephen and other victims of PSNI harassment.
The protest was met with much support from passing motorists, many of whom sounded their horns in support. The political police also had the peaceful protest and those taking part in it under constant surveillance.
Stephen was arrested and beaten by the PSNI last month during a “security operation” in the Derrybeg estate in which homes were raided, cars searched and residents tormented.
Despite being punched and kicked by PSNI gunmen in front of his family and neighbours he now finds himself facing nine charges.
Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “The only thing Stephen is guilty of is standing up for his community. The Derrybeg estate was held under siege that day just as it has been countless times over the years. Stephen’s case is not an isolated incident, éirígí are aware of numerous examples of other republicans finding themselves in similar circumstances over the past few months. This is nothing but a relentless campaign of harassment being carried out against republicans in Newry.
“Countless times Stephen has put himself forward and has exposed and highlighted PSNI harassment in Newry and the unchanged ways of this force. Sadly that means that over the past number of years he has become a target for special attention which has culminated in his assault and arrest.
Mac Cionnaith continued, “éirígí in Newry are involved in countless campaigns in the Newry area. Our members are active in engaging with their communities in many shapes and forms, their Different Name, Same Aim campaign has been ongoing since early 2010 and they are also involved in the Stormont Isn’t Working campaign which exposes the inability of the puppet body to solve the economic crisis. As well as those campaigns our Newry activists have also been busy organising pickets, protests and commemorative events throughout the year as well as standing on picket lines with striking workers.
“It’s clear the PSNI and their cheerleaders are deeply worried about the rise of éirígí in Newry and the fact that we are offering an alternative to working class communities in the area. This is the reason our activists are being targeted in such a manner by the crown forces.”
Breandán concluded, “If the PSNI think that dragging republicans before British courts is somehow going to deter éirígí from rebuilding a popular struggle of resistance, not only in Newry but across the country, then they are very much mistaken.”
Stephen’s court case was adjourned until November 23.
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