THE DUP have accused the PSNI of using “heavy handed tactics” after one of its councillors was struck with a police baton at the abandoned Crusaders v Cliftonville match on Saturday.
In a statement released by DUP north Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland MLA, they said there was video evidence to support the attack on Councillor Guy Spence.
Three people were arrested following a loyalist flag protest at the Shore Road ground on Saturday afternoon.
The Danske Bank Irish Premier League game between second versus top had to be abandoned.
The two DUP politicians said: “Our local Councillor Guy Spence was present on the ground, along with Councillor Lydia Patterson and other community representatives, trying to help keep the situation as calm and peaceful as possible.
“This was because of the previous history of difficulties caused by a small number of Cliftonville fans walking down Skegoneill Avenue behaving badly and offensively towards local residents.
“There is video evidence of police acting aggressively towards Councillor Spence and of him being struck by police.
“Others who also tried to help have complained of police heavy handed tactics and needless aggression by TSG police officers.
“We will be following these issues up with police urgently in the coming days.”
Councillor Guy Spence said he was present throughout the afternoon on the Shore Road in order to try to ensure that there was no trouble and that things would remain as calm as possible.
“When police were pushing people back I was struck by a police baton as I tried to lift a lady, who had fallen, back onto her feet.
“I was also struck by one police officer as I tried to speak to the police inspector after the arrest of a local community worker.”
“It is deeply regrettable that today’s match at Seaview was postponed.
A lot of work had gone on between the two clubs, fans representatives, local residents and the police in order to allow the match to go ahead in a peaceful atmosphere.
Unfortunately this afternoon’s events have disrupted this good work and spoiled what should have been simply a great top-of-the-table match for football supporters to enjoy. Football is the biggest loser today.