[Sinn Fein]

8 December 1998

RUC Attack Protesters in Castlecourt

During a disband the RUC protest at Belfast's Castlecourt the RUC attacked and verbally abused protesters. The protest was calling on the closure of the new RUC `information shop' which opened it's doors this morning. At 10am protesters gathered at the entrance of the `shop' in an attempt to occupy the building. RUC officers attacked protesters and arrested one man, who was later taken to Musgrave St RUC Barracks.

During the protest Sinn Fein councillor Marie Moore and one of the protesters spoke to the management of the Castlecourt and raised their concerns at the opening of the new `information shop' . They were told that the `shop' was a response to increasing ;evels of theft in the shopping centre.

In response Cllr. Moore said:

``There are two RUC barracks within a short distance of Castlecourt. There is no justification for an additional post. Furthermore, the RUC have turned a blind eye to petty crime, and recruited offenders as informants. So the suggestion that this `shop' is about reducing crime simply does not wash with the nationalist community.

``Today's behavior by the RUC clearly demonstrates why they should be disbanded. they went out of their way toinjure and offend peaceful protesters. I understand that those who were attacked will be processing complaints through their solicitors.''

Following an impromtu meeting with Lord Mayor David Alderice during the the protest, Sinn Fein's Cllrs called the protest to an end and accompanied the Lord mayor to the City hall for an urgent meeting an the matter.

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