Hey, bombers, leave our cops alone!

Who do they think they are kidding? The terrorists who bombed an off-duty PSNI officer in Tyrone last night have nothing to offer modern-day Ireland, north or south, but a return to the worst of the 1970s – bad hair, bad clothes, bad politics, bad days.

The tactic of an under-car booby-trap bomb, which was deployed last night against the officer, is a classic seventies-era throw-back, with no place and next to no support in 21st century Northern Ireland.

Thirty years ago, thousands - no tens of thousands - of people here daily checked the underside of their cars before driving to or from work, or school, or the shops, or church.

Despite the attempts at safeguards, many people fell victim to the bombers. I remember from my primary school days, the school secretary's husband being blown up in his car, losing both his legs in the explosion. Every Sunday, for the rest of his days, he struggled up the aisle of the church to his normal pew , with the support of his family, artificial limbs and sticks to help him hold on to part of his life with dignity, in spite of the bombers.

Thankfully, those days are mostly behind us, but last night's attack, which reportedly has left the officer badly injured, is a reminder that not everyone is content with today's political set-up or trajectory. They are entitled to their views. What they are not entitled to do is shoot and bomb our neighbours, our law enforcement officers.

I have never shied away from criticising the police when they do their job badly, but when they do their job well – as they normally do – they are among society's most important human rights defenders. As such, they deserve the support of human rights campaigners and of wider society.

This morning, I wish the injured police officer a full recovery and his colleagues full support in tracking and arresting the culprits.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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