During Adams' detention, other Sinn Fein leaders warned they could withdraw support for law and order in Northern Ireland if Adams was charged. The Protestant leader of the province's power-sharing government, First Minister Peter Robinson, condemned that threat.
Speaking hours before Adams' release, Robinson accused Sinn Fein of mounting "a despicable, thuggish attempt to blackmail" the police into dropping charges.
"I warn Sinn Fein that they have crossed the line and should immediately cease this destructive behavior," Robinson said, suggesting that the future of Northern Ireland's government was at stake.
Robinson's Democratic Unionist Party agreed to share power with Sinn Fein in 2007 on condition that the IRA-linked party accepted police authority. A former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness, serves as the government's deputy leader. Such cross-community cooperation following four decades of bloodshed was the central goal of the U.S.-brokered Good Friday peace accord of 1998.
Robinson accused Sinn Fein of hypocrisy by demanding criminal investigations of killings committed by Protestant militants, the police and British Army, but rejecting any such investigations into the IRA, which killed nearly 1,800 people during a failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom.
Adams stressed at his press conference that Sinn Fein would continue to support the police — but he did make one formal complaint while in custody.
"The food is un-eatable," he said. "I just wasn't able to digest it."