Posts Tagged ‘anti-internment Craigavon two MI5 sinn fein gerry conlon marian price’

Internment

An anti-internment march, organised by the Anti-Internment League (labelled as ‘dissidents’), was held in Belfast city on Sunday 10 August 2014.

DISSIDENT a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.

This march was not only organised to commemorate the introduction of internment in Ireland in the 1970s, it was organised to highlight the continued use of internment in 2014 and in an era of power-sharing between Irish republicans and British loyalists.The march was described as a “Human Rights parade to oppose the continued use of internment, by remand, miscarriage of justice and revocation of licences by the British Government and the 26 County Administration.”

What is the march about and why was it called?
Chairperson of the Anti-Internment League, Mr. Dee Fennell, explained it was about mobilising people “to oppose the continued use of internment by both the British Government here in the 6 counties [north of Ireland] and by the 26 county [south of Ireland] administration”.

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The same march was marred by violence as British loyalist protestors rioted to stop the march and, in particular, to stop it marching up Royal Avenue in the city centre in 2013. In rioting, British loyalists injured over 50 PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) and forced it to be re-routed. Many were expecting violence again this year.

What is Internment?
The Anti-Internment League believe internment takes three forms;

Internment by remand – whereby Irish republican activists are charged with secret evidence and removed from the streets and political causes they contribute to.
Internment through Revocation of Early Release License – the British Secretary of State, for the Six Counties, can return any early release prisoner to jail without a full and clear explanation.
Internment through Miscarriage of Justice – Irish republican activists that have been convicted in a Diplock court by secret and contaminated evidence and paid perjurers. In the 26 counties, the word of a Garda, above a certain rank, is enough to convict someone of membership of a “subversive” organisation.

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The detention of Marian Price and Martin Corey as well as the conviction of the Craigavon Two (Brendan Mc Conville and John Paul Wootton) are examples of modern day internment.

Alban Mc Guinness, of the SDLP, believes Martin Corey’s detention is “internment without trial” due to the lack of evidence and absence of due process.

Gerry Conlon of the Guilford Four, had been a tireless justice campaigner for the Craigavon Two as has Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six. Similarly the ‘Free Marian Price’ campaign had broad cross party and cross community support.

 

How does it happen?

Fennell believes people can be jailed purely based on their political beliefs. He feels “it is an injustice that any republican is currently imprisoned in the context of a continuing occupation of our country” Unfortunately, nobody knows why people have been jailed as little information is forthcoming from the PSNI or Gardaí (Police in southern Ireland). Those arrested and their families receive the bland explanation of ‘national security’.

As it is widely believed that internment has resulted from MI5 gathered secret intelligence, there is a great amount of mistrust amongst Republicans of the current power sharing executive and pressure is mounting on Sinn Fein (Sinn Fein are the largest single political party in the 6 counties, a partner in the government and the main Irish republican party).

Is it only Irish republicans who are being targeted?
“Basically, if you’re opposed to the state you’re at risk of being interned…internment has been there since the inception of the northern state, just the manner in which it’s being used has changed…” claims Mr. Fennell.

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Des Dalton, President of Republican Sinn Fein, believes internment is “…far from a matter of history”. One of Republican Sinn Fein’s members, Martin Corey, was held “…without charge for three years and then finally released and placed under a form of internal exile…where he was actually not even allowed return to his home town of Lurgan”.

Dalton believes it is evident that “…the British state are still maintaining…” the same methods used in the past. It is because of the continued use of these methods, he believes, that it is important to question “…this attempt to sell the big lie, that there is normalisation, that the 6 county state is a normal democratic state – that that lie is challenged”.

Until such time as such methods are ended, Dalton believes that we will not have normality nor the basis for a democratic and just peace and there can be no moving forward “…to any kind of a just and lasting settlement in Ireland…”

He believes there is a deliberate targeting of people, who served lengthy sentences in the past, to send a message to those now questioning the current process “…you open your mouth, you’re back to jail…” This attempt to silence and frighten people, Dalton believes “…has to be challenge, it has to be faced down”.

Parades Commission determination
The Parades Commission (PC), a public body responsible for placing restrictions on parades it deems contentious or offensive, gave the march permission to go from Ardoyne Avenue in north Belfast, up Royal Avenue in the city centre, to finish in Andersonstown in the west.

The PC also gave permission for two British loyalist counter demonstrations, who objected to this march being allowed through Belfast city centre. It was as a result of similar loyalist counter demonstrations that violence erupted at last year’s anti-internment march.

The two counter demonstrations requested permission for 1,100 people which the PC flatly rejected. Permission was eventually given for 400. Without notifying the PC, British loyalists also gathered at the bottom of the Shankill Road, approaching the city centre.

Expectations
Prior to the march, a number of Irish republican activists were expecting violence as they believed the main issue for loyalists was “…having Fenians [old name for Irish republicans] march through the city centre…” and making use of what is a shared space – the city centre. To add insult to last year’s injury, British loyalists still insist on marching through Irish neighbourhoods and singing sectarian songs outside their places of worship.

Local Republicans, in north and west Belfast, were expecting loyalist protestors to do all possible to prevent the march happening as per its plan. This was highlighted by the fact that the PSNI said they could not guarantee the safety of those taking part. A comment which, some believe, was intended to intimidate Republicans into staying at home.

The March into Belfast city centre
Despite loyalists attacking the march with missiles and minor explosive devices, taunting with sectarian slogans and singing and creating an intimidating atmosphere by blowing horns, the march went through the city centre as planned – one of the few Irish republicans marches to achieve this.

While march organisers asked their participants not to react to loyalists taunts, Republican marchers retaliated with taunts of their own. There was proactive waving of arms, hands and flags, countless vulgar gestures as well as a returning of the missiles thrown at them. Whilst leaving Royal Avenue, Irish republican marchers had to move at speed as some believed objects were being thrown from the roof of a nearby building at the marchers.

Clearly British loyalists came prepared with these small explosive devices and horns. This rubbishes any idea that they were provoked, as stated by their leaders on the day. Loyalists could be heard jeering and booing before Republicans even got onto Royal Avenue.

As Republican marchers entered Royal Avenue, the heart of their own city, British riot Police, in full riot gear, were already facing their shields and bodies towards the Irish Republican marchers, with their backs to the loyalists who were throwing missiles and yelling abuse.

The behaviour of the British loyalist, mob is in stark contrast to counter demonstrations held by Irish republicans during their marches. In fact a number of Irish republican counter demonstrations were called off.


Misinformed Comment
An ill informed quote in the following link, apparently from a Belfast city tour guide, is one of the many aspects this parade highlights and is fighting against. It highlights that internment is unfortunately not yet history. It highlights how quickly people wish to move on even though the past has not yet been dealt with. And it highlights people’s main concerns – an absence of business and profit.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/bemused-belfast-tourists-told-theyre-seeing-living-history-at-republican-antiinternment-parade-30497651.html

Furthermore the march highlights that not all is well in the 6 counties and no amount of wishing or talking it away will make it any different. What we witnessed on Sunday 11 August was 4,000 people, march through Belfast city centre to peacefully voice their opinions and discontent, despite British loyalist violence, taunts and abuse.

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Discontent also with the Sinn Fein leadership for having lead them into a power-sharing agreement that has, thus far, failed to deliver the United Ireland it promised and failed to unite the Irish and British communities in harmony. Both communities still live apart, know very little about each other and relations appear to be worsening.

Irish Republicans entered this process freely and after a 30 year conflict where, one of the world’s most fortified armies could not defeat them. An army once numbering as high as 27,000, that used 300,000 soldiers during the conflict as well as members of the SAS, to assassinate Irish republicans, and the undercover MRF, used to assassinate innocent Catholics with the intention of enticing republicans to retaliate against their Protestant loyalist neighbours.

An army that predominantly patrolled, harassed and monitored a population of less than 700,000. Irish Republicans entered a process they believed would deliver a United Ireland. The near future seems to be one of continued recognition of British rule in the 6 counties and punitive measures for anyone who speaks out.

Sinn Fein claims this recognition is temporary as they call for a Border Poll to decide the future of the 6 counties. Their opponents, however, see a Sinn Fein getting comfortable in suits and with titles, devising 10 year plans and ultimately accepting the authority of a British state.

How successful Sinn Fein’s attempts to hold and win this poll will be, nobody knows. What we can be sure of is that, in the absence of a sincere attempt to unite Ireland and all its communities, Irish dissident republicans will not have gone away either.