Answers sought from PSNI over Woodburn arrests

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA has written to the Chief Constable to seek answers on a range of issues including the arrest of environmental activists at the weekend and the need to protect the public from alleged assaults by Infrastrata staff.

Steven Agnew MLA said today, Tuesday, 14 June 2016,

“Following my recent visit to Woodburn to support the Stop the Drill campaigners, I have raised a number of queries with George Hamilton, the Chief Constable.

“I am concerned that seven activists were threatened with CS spray at the weekend before being arrested on what is apparently a public right of way.

“I would like to know which law(s) are being upheld in such incidents. When I spoke to the Inspector present at Woodburn, he indicated that it is not for the PSNI to adjudicate on whether the fencing erected by Infrastrata is permitted. However, in helping Infrastrata maintain their barrier to access, surely that is exactly what the PSNI are doing.

“There is a strong feeling that the PSNI is acting as second security force for Intrastata and is not protecting the public from alleged assaults by Infrastrata security personnel.

“I believe that a Police Liaison Officer should be put in place to communicate with activists and I have asked the Chief Constable if he intends to do so.

“Such a move would help in maintaining a positive relationship with protesters, the vast majority of whom wish to object within the law.

“The right of Infrastrata to carry out their commercial operations must be balanced by the right of peaceful protest.”

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