Checkpoint Gunmens' Propaganda 'Coup'

An illegal 'checkpoint' operated by republican gunmen has been been 'facilitated' by the police.

Leaflets warning people not to co-operate with the police on both sides of the border were handed out by dissident republicans at the road stop on Friday night near the village of Meigh.

The leaflets also advised against people speaking with the security service, MI5 - or even Sinn Féin - and also carried threats against anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing.

According to SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley: "This was an attempt by this group to make themselves relevant.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "A routine police patrol came upon what they believed to be suspicious activity in the Meigh area of Newry and pulled back to allow the situation to be fully evaluated.

"This activity was confirmed as being a number of armed men illegally stopping vehicles.

"An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident should contact police."

However, the literal police U-turn has been slammed by South Armagh-based victims' campaigner Willie Frazer.

He said that he understood the officers, who wanted to move into the scene on Friday night to make arrests, were ordered by their superiors to leave the area.

In turn, the PSNI have refused to deny that it ordered police officers who came across dissident republican gunmen stopping traffic in south Armagh to return to their station rather than investigating.

Mr Frazer said that it was farcical for the PSNI to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information: "They would have to take statements from themselves," he told the Belfast News Letter.

"These men were armed to the teeth and were stopping traffic to give out leaflets urging people not to cooperate with the police.

"Yet they were not allowed to engage them and take them on. This is not the first time that this has happened.

"The PSNI has allowed this gang to succeeded in intimidating people."


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