The PSNI were forced to watch impotently from the sidelines yesterday [Saturday] as éirígí held a well-attended anti-British Armed Forces Day picket at Belfast City Hall.
Last June, PSNI riot squads hemmed peaceful protestors into the Castle Street area when they attempted to make their way to City Hall to oppose the triumphalist celebration. However, this year, the best efforts of dozens of PSNI landrovers and scores of political police, as well as attempted intimidation by unionist elements, could not prevent around 100 republicans coming from across Belfast to the éirígí-organised demonstration.
Once at City Hall, the republicans, among them many young people, former political prisoners and victims of state violence, were addressed by John McCusker, the chairperson of éirígí’s ciorcal in west Belfast.
McCusker pointed out that, while the British government has now designated June 26 as ‘Armed Forces Day’, families across the Six Counties and beyond are living with the fact that nobody has ever been held to account for the state killings of their loved ones.
He also stated that what we are seeing is just the beginning of éirígí’s campaign for a British withdrawal.
Afterwards, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said: “Today, the inability of the PSNI to permanently prevent the right to protest was witnessed. All those who made their way to Belfast City Hall are to be commended for upholding this fundamental right in the face of a major attempt at mass intimidation.
“The British government and its agencies of occupation should take note that significant numbers of nationalists and republicans are once again prepared to defy their thugs in uniform in pursuance of the national independence struggle. These numbers will only grow in the time ahead.”