Deprivation inflicted on protesting prisoners
MARCH 1st 1980 marks the fourth anniversary of the removal by the British of political status for republican prisoners. This weekend, thousands will march through the streets of Dublin on Saturday, and Belfast on Sunday, to protest at Britain's criminally cruel prison policy.
This policy is one of deliberately depriving prisoners of basic facilities, in order to force them off their protest - a protest which essentially consists of refusing to wear prison clothes, or to do prison work, in the case of the more than 350 blanket men in the H-Blocks, and of refusing to do prison work (their own clothes are allowed them) in the case of more than 30 women in Armagh Jail. Having denied the prisoners facilities (such as washing and toilet facilities) and putting them on `lock-up' as a punishment designed to break them and their protest, the British, for their own propaganda purposes, then hypocritically claim the prisoners' conditions are self-inflicted'.
The situation in Armagh has rapidly deteriorated since Thursday 7 February when more than 40 male warders attacked prisoners there during a wing search. Since then, the women, now in `A' Wing, have been totally denied washing and toilet facilities, and are locked-up 23 hours a day.
Phoblacht, 1 March 1980