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Disturbance at Irish Republican rally marking internment anniversary

British soldiers summarily rounding up suspected Irish Republicans on the street during the early phase of Internment

A Republican gathering to mark the 50th anniversary of interment in Northern Ireland has degenerated into violence, possibly as a result of aggressive policing tactics.

According to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), a petrol bomb was thrown at a police vehicle in Dungannon, County Tyrone, after “dozens” of “masked men” blocked off a road on Saturday night (August 07).

The PSNI also claimed that “between 20 to 30 people wearing balaclavas” set fire to “furniture” on Ballygawley Road.

Not surprisingly the PSNI statement makes no mention of policing tactics and to what extent (if any) the Republican elements were provoked by the police or opposing loyalist gangs.  

Dubbed Operation Demetrius by the British Army, the policy of interment commenced on August 09, 1971 by overwhelmingly targeting the Irish Republican community.

In the space of two days, 342 people suspected of connection to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were rounded up and arbitrarily detained without any legal process, sometimes for years.

The policy finally ceased in December 1975 by which time 1,981 people had been interned, 1,874 of them Irish nationalists suspected of waging war against the British military occupation in the north of Ireland.

The injustice of internment only came to light in later years when it transpired that as a result of shoddy or bogus intelligence many innocent and uninvolved people had been wrongly detained without due process.




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