PSNI use CS gas in incident

Claims that the PSNI attacked Nationalist residents in Westland Gardens who were protecting their homes from a Loyalist mob were made by Gerry Kelly.
The Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast said the PSNI turned against Catholic residents during the incident on Sunday November 7, which saw residents try and defend their property against a gang that were slashing car tyres. The PSNI have confirmed that CS spray was used by the PSNI during the disturbance.
The Sinn Féin MLA said the incident flagged up the question of a balanced and accountable police force again for Nationalists.
“On Sunday [November 7] a loyalist mob entered the Westland Gardens area and began slashing car tyres,” Gerry Kelly said.
“Residents confronted the gang and tried their best to defend their property. When the PSNI arrived they attacked the nationalist residents and took no action against the loyalist mob whose presence had caused the original problem. A number of local people had to receive treatment from the effects of inhaling CS gas.
“This display of partisan political policing is unacceptable. As with recent Orange parades when the choice comes down to delivering impartial policing and confronting loyalist gangs or attacking nationalists in their own districts the PSNI will always opt to attack the nationalists.
“Time and again in North Belfast and indeed elsewhere this sort of behaviour typifies the PSNI approach. People judge the PSNI by their actions. Time and again across the six counties the PSNI by their actions show clearly to Nationalists the distance which still must be travelled before we see an acceptable and accountable policing service.”
A PSNI spokesperson said CS spray was used after officers were confronted by a hostile crowd in the Westland Road area. She said they were forced to use it after an officer was surrounded by men with baseball bats.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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