[Sinn Fein]

19th August 1999

Arrests motivated by sectarian hatred

Statement from South Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor Sean Hayes slamming the sectarian actions of the RUC early this morning when they arrested a number of people in the Markets and the Lower Ormeau Road.

Cllr. Hayes said:

``LOCC spokesperson Gerard Rice and a number of other people were this morning arrested in RUC raids in the Markets and Lower Ormeau Road in connection with the protest against the sectarian march on Saturday morning.

``The action of the RUC this morning contrasts sharply with their reaction to hundreds of illegal and violent loyal order protests in Portadown and elsewhere over the past year. Harold Gracy has for example been camped out at Drumcree in breach of the Parade Commission ruling, leading the siege of the people of Garvaghy Road from his caravan at Drumcree without any action from the RUC.

``The RUC seem to have approached this mornings raids with the similar sectarian principles which they adopted on Saturday morning. It once again highlight the fact that there is one law for the Orange Order and one for peaceful nationalist protesters. The sectarian ethos of both the RUC and the DPP have once again been exposed to the world.''

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