[Sinn Fein]

8 July 1998

RUC refuses to challenge mass intimidation tactics

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has accused the RUC of demonstrating ``a lack of will and determination to meet the challenge posed by the Orange Order's strategy of confrontation.''

Commenting on the role of the RUC in the current siege of the Garvaghy Road and its response to the road blocks, marches, pickets, street disturbances and armed actions. Mr. Adams said:

``The RUC has stood back and allowed thousands of Orangemen and their supporters unrestricted access, for the past four days, to Drumcree Church, something in breach of the Parades Commissions determination.

``They have also been allowed to walk from Portadown out along the Dungannon Road past Obins Street junction, the Catholic Chapel and the Garvaghy Road.

``According to local people Orangemen are being allowed to gather at the three entrances to the Garvaghy Road. This is an obvious attempt to intimidate that beleaguered community by attempting to cut it off completely.

``Other nationalist areas in Portadown, between Obins Street and the Garvaghy Road, are open to intimidation from the Orange Order and its supporters.

``Across the six counties the Orange Order has blocked roads, taken over town and city centres, cut off nationalist towns like Dunloy, and engaged in mass intimidation and threats.

``The Orange Order used these same tactics two years ago, and it was this use of force and threats which the Chief Constable of the RUC used to excuse the scenes of local residents being batoned off their streets by the RUC to allow the Orange march down the Garvaghy Road.

``Many nationalists I have spoken to in recent days have drawn obvious comparisons between the muted RUC response to all of this and its attitude towards nationalists.

``The RUC has shown no evidence of having the necessary will or determination to effectively meet the challenge presented by the mass intimidation and confrontational tactics of the Orange Order.''ENDS

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