Despite the many promises made in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), St Andrews agreements and by the political classes north and south of the border, recent events have shown that the culture of political policing in the six counties remains as deeply rooted as ever. The RUC may have changed their name and uniform but they remain the same force, with the same hostile attitude towards republicans and human rights.
Last week, for the first time since internment, the RUC/PSNI detained individuals in custody without charge for longer than seven days. They may now be held for up to 28 days. In August of last year éirígí held nationwide protests to remember the introduction of internment by the British Government in 1971 and to highlight the introduction of this new legislation that now allows them to carry out these detentions. As éirígí warned at that time, what we are now seeing is the re-introduction of internment under a different name and directed once again at republicans.
The silence of virtually all politicians on both sides of the border at this flagrant abuse of human rights by the RUC/PSNI and the British government is deafening. Contrary to the commitments made at the time of the GFA, the British government have increased militarisation of the Six Counties and have overseen an upsurge in human rights violations. They promised the repeal of repressive and draconian legislation yet they have enacted and have begun implementing new laws effectively re-introducing internment for a 28-day period without a whimper from the political classes. This shows the utter failure and bankruptcy of the agreement and those who championed it.
Those who gave their full support to the RUC/PSNI claimed an era of supposedly “accountable” policing was at hand. Now that those claims lie in tatters the onus rests with Sinn Fein and the SDLP to withdraw their support for British policing in Ireland.
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