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Woman injured during Lurgan parade arrests is sister of Hooded Man

Lelia Quine (76) was hurt during the disturbances. Picture by Pacemaker Press
Connla Young

A 76-year-old woman was injured during a PSNI operation to arrest members of a republican colour party in Lurgan.

Lelia Quine was knocked to the ground as the PSNI moved in to make arrests during an un-notified Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) Easter Rising commemoration on Levin Road on Saturday afternoon.

The pensioner, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease and has a pacemaker fitted, was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged.

She is a sister of one of the Hooded Men, Gerry McKerr. He was one of 14 Catholic men who say they were tortured while being detained during internment in 1971.

He died in March 2015 and is remembered at the annual RSF commemoration each year.

Video footage of the incident, captured by the Irish News, shows the pensioner being knocked to the ground during scuffles as PSNI officers attempted to arrest a masked men.

Seven men were charged and two released on police bail.

The men aged 48, 39, 36, 28 and two aged 30 have been charged with taking part in an un-notified public procession and wearing clothing or having articles as member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.

The 28-year-old has also been charged with three counts of assault on police. They are due in court in Lisburn today.

The seventh man, aged 44, has been charged with two counts of obstructing police and assault on police.

He is due to appear at Craigavon Magistrates Court on 27 April.

An ambulance was called to the scene after the woman, who was holding a walking stick, appeared to suffer injuries to her face and head.

The pensioner was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital and later discharged.

Her daughter, who did not want to be named, said her mother attended the event to honour her dead brother.

She said she was "disgusted" by the actions of the PSNI.

"She only came here because of Gerry, she wanted to commemorate her brother," she said.

Prior to the commemoration eight masked men dressed in combat-style clothing marched a short distance along the Levin Road in the Kilwilkie estate.

It is believed this procession was not notified to the Parades Commission.

Minutes later the PSNI moved in at a local garden of remembrance as officers wearing high visibility jackets jumped form a minibus and others appeared from an adjoining grassed area.

Police then ran at the masked men from two directions.

At one stage up to 12 Land Rovers were in the area, including some with CCTV cameras mounted.

Those arrested were then taken from the scene in two minibuses.

In previous years the PSNI has mounted arrest operations in Lurgan in the wake of the unnotified parade and pursued others for prosecution.

However it is believed to be the first time that police have taken action to make arrests during a commemoration in recent years.

RSF president Des Dalton, who was present in Lurgan on Saturday, said the incident "shows the true face of British rule in Ireland".

It is understood the commemoration resumed when police left the area.

Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly tweeted that he has raised his concerns with senior officers about the injured pensioner and the "issue of police being consistent and even-handed".

His comments came after a UDA show of strength in Bangor last week after a loyalist Dee Stitt's home was raided.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie took to Twitter to describe the police operation as a "well co-ordinated plan".

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