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Up to 1,500 pack Guildhall Square for rally against RAAD

Up to 1,500 people packed into the Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon to call for the group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) to stand down.

The protest, organised by RAAD- Not in Our Name group, was called after the vigilante group shot two young men in the Bogside area of the city during the week and in the wake of the murder of Waterside man Andrew Allen.

There were a number of speakers at the rally, including MLAs and the families of RAAD victims.

William Allen, uncle of murdered father-of-two Andrew Allen said the RAAD group were “nothing but a gang of murderers, child abusers, cowards and liars – it’s time for them to get lost.”

Local MLA Pat Ramsey spoke, welcoming the lifting of the threat from two teenage boys from the Creggan area after negotiations.

“Clearly this move was taken by the organisation to reflect the mood of the people of Derry. I would urge them to go further and reflect the mood in Derry properly. They need to immediately lift all the death threats on people living in Derry and the dozens who have been exiled.

He said: “By coming onto these streets today we are letting Northern Ireland see, letting this city see that we do not want RAAD in Derry. I call on them to stand down, put away your guns.”

Rally organiser Colm Bryce said the group were, by their actions oppressing the community, not protecting it. He called on the group to stop what they are doing immediately.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney asked anyone with information relating to the group or their activities should contact the PSNI.

“I am a life-long republican and I tell you now that what RAAD is doing has nothing to do with Irish republicanism. I would call on anyone with information about the group to take it to the police so we can get those responsible for attacking our community locked up behind bars.”

Eamonn McCann said RAAD were doing nothing except making the drugs problem in Derry worse.

“RAAD are useless,” he said. “What they are doing doesn’t work. They are making the drug problem in our city worse and it’s time that they put down their guns and stood down. We need radical solutions to the drugs problem here, and RAAD do not provide that solution.

“I say to them stop inflicting pain and grief on our community,” he said. “This community has suffered enough over the years.

“When you kill a young person you sentence their family to a life of grief, you break their mother’s heart, shatter the lives of their children, their sisters, wives, brothers and fathers. They will never recover from this.”


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