Since last Monday night’s Orange Order incursion, the residents of Ardoyne and those who support their right to live free from sectarian harassment have come under sustained attack from the British government, the PSNI, organs of the Six County state, the corporate media and some political parties who should know better.
According to the narrative constructed by these bodies, what happened in Ardoyne was an orgy of violence ignited by irresponsible outsiders who called people onto the streets to suit their own twisted ends. The narrative is a familiar one: it is one that was used against the residents of the Ormeau and Garvaghy roads, Derry and elsewhere in the 1990s, it is a tactic that has been used against the people of Ardoyne for over a decade.
What the people purveying this propaganda in an attempt to obscure the truth from the wider population ignore are some very simple facts:
- In the run up to this year’s sectarian march, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective conducted a survey which found that 1,100 households objected to the Orange Order incursion on their community.
- éirígí responded to the call from Ardoyne residents to extend solidarity to their besieged community. éirígí did not call people onto the streets.
- The first act of violence on Monday was the PSNI attack on a peaceful sit-down protest by residents and supporters.
- By its own admission, the PSNI fired at least 70 plastic bullets in Ardoyne on Monday, injuring a number of people.
- The resolution to the annual conflict in Ardoyne is a simple one: Reroute the Orange Order from the area and accept the residents’ right to live from sectarian harassment and intimidation. When the Orange Order’s ‘Tour of the North’ was rerouted from Ardoyne earlier this summer, there was no violence. Likewise, the Garvaghy and Ormeau roads and other nationalist areas of the Six Counties have been largely quiet since the Orange Order was stopped from imposing itself upon them.
The Six County establishment may wish to bury its head in the sand on this issue but they should remember one thing: last Monday’s dignified peaceful protest was a message from the people of Ardoyne that they will not be treated as second class citizens, they will not be intimidated and they will not be demonised.
éirígí’s activists and supporters were proud to stand, and sit, beside the people of Ardoyne on Monday and they will do so again if the call is put out.