[Sinn Fein]

20th August 1999

Sinn Fein Councillor arrested over Ormeau Road Protest

Sinn Fein Councillor for South Belfast, Sean Hayes, was arrested and charged in connection with last weekend's Lower Ormeau Road protest. Speaking after his release from RUC custody Councillor Hayes said:

``After a weekend of RUC brutality on the Ormeau Road, we now have a situation where the same RUC men are arresting and charging those injured at the protest for allegedly disturbing the peace. In any other country such a scene would be treated as farcical.

``It is quite clear that the RUC are attempting to intimidate nationalist residents and elected representatives from peacefully protesting for our civil rights.

``Once again the stark contrast between RUC treatment of nationalists and unionists speaks for itself. In over a year of illegal parades and protests in the Portadown area, how many arrests took place. Indeed how many elected representatives have been arrested. Yet after one peaceful protest on the Ormeau Road, up to 20 people have now been arrested. In light of such glaring facts how can the RUC pretend to be impartial.''ENDS

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