Action group RAAD Not in Our Name have urged the people of Derry to come out in force tomorrow (Saturday) for a rally against the vigilante group who this week issued a death threat against local business man Raymond Coyle.
RAAD are also being blamed for the shooting in Creggan of an 18-year-old man last night.
Speaking in advance of the rally, a spokesperson for RAAD Not in Our Name said: “The death threat issued by Republican Action Against Drugs is a cowardly action against a man who simply had the affront to stand up to these bullies and speak out against them. We call on the people of Derry to come out and support this Saturday’s rally against RAAD. If we allow this group to issue threats to those who stand against them, then who will they target next?
“They have already left the Allen family devastated, brutally slaughtering a young man with his whole life ahead of him.
“They have also shown that they will settle pub fights and petty disputes with extreme violence. They believe they are a law onto themselves. In Strabane they recently shot a man in front of an 8 year old girl; who could possibly justify this? No child should ever have to witness such terrible sights.
“Within hours of speaking out against RAAD on local radio, threats against Raymond Coyle were spray painted on a gable wall in the Bogside. RAAD wanted to silence Raymond, just as they want to silence the community and leave them in fear. We must unite as a community against them, that is why it is so important for people of all political persuasions and none to come out and join this rally.”
The spokesperson added: “ Alcohol and drug abuse are major problems, no one could possibly deny this, These are social problems, not policing problems. They are problems that will not go away, no matter how many people are threatened, beaten or maimed.
“The tactics of RAAD failed in Belfast and Dublin, so how do they believe they will work here? What we need is an educated and informed debate as to how we deal with alcohol and drug problems. While RAAD continue their reign of terror, this debate cannot happen.”
He added: “Derry has a wonderful history of people standing up to oppression and fighting for civil rights. We hope this tradition is maintained and enhanced as people unite to stand up against RAAD at Guildhall Square on Saturday at 3pm.”