The vehicle was making a delivery just outside Newry when a PSNI patrol car, travelling towards them, conducted a u-turn and pursued them with sirens sounding and lights flashing.
The charity vehicle was pulled in by this very aggressive PSNI patrol, the occupants questioned and vehicle searched for unknown items.
éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney condemned the incident. He said, “Our party was contacted on Wednesday and the incident was reported to us. We spoke to the passenger of the charity van who told us of his shock and disgust at the conduct and attitude of the PSNI.
“This man has been unjustly targeted by the PSNI on a few occasions and it would appear that this was the sole excuse needed for the PSNI to aggressively stop and search this van, which I might add was clearly marked with signs on the front and sides which identified it as a cancer charity vehicle.
“This isn’t the first time the PSNI have targeted people involved in charity work in the Newry area. Only few months ago we highlighted another incident wherein a local man collecting sponsorship for another local charity found himself being stopped and searched in Hill Street and, on that occasion, the PSNI went as far as taking his sponsorship card from him. Shortly afterwards the same man was harassed while training for a marathon to raise much needed charity sponsorship funds.”
Murney concluded, “The victims in this latest incident were, at the time, working for the benefit of those less fortunate than themselves. They were engaging in charitable work yet they found themselves on the receiving end of state harassment. Both victims should be commended for the work they were doing, not persecuted and punished by the use of repressive laws.”