Republican prisoners in Maghaberry have called on members of the public to support their campaign for political status.
A prison protest began on Monday and will be stepped up over the coming weeks.
In a written statement released yesterday the Officer Commanding Continuity IRA prisoners in Maghaberry said protest action has been taken reluctantly.
“In 2003 we embarked on a protest for segregation, this battle was won and segregation was introduced in September of that year. At that time the Brits asked for a period of transition and conditions would then improve. These terms were accepted reluctantly by republicans. However, as in 1980 when our comrades in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh ended their first hunger-strike, we have found that the Brits are still incapable of honouring their promises.
“As a result we again find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to embark on a prolonged protest.
“This has come about as a direct result of the intransigence of the Brits in seeking a policy of criminalisation.
“We hereby state that we as republican POWs will no longer co-operate with nor accept the policies and regime imposed on us by Brit puppets. We have outlined our five demands.
“The protest which we now embark upon will not end until our demands are met.
“We will take whatever steps are necessary in order to improve the conditions not alone for ourselves, but also for those who may come behind us. I would therefore like to call on all republican bodies, all politicians to back us in our plight. We have exhausted all avenues open to us.
“We gave the Brits the transition period required by them and still they refuse to accept that we are not criminals.
“We would ask everyone to support us by supporting our representatives on white-line pickets and leaflet hand-outs taking to the streets and demand that the Brits and their prison service sort this out once and for all.”
The republican prisoners’ five demands include free association, freedom of movement, the right to a full-time education, a separate visiting facility and the right to organise their own landings.
INLA AMNESTY FOR INFORMERS
The Irish National Liberation Army has offered informers a one-week amnesty after reportedly uncovering a PSNI Special Branch agent in County Derry.
A 51-year-old man is understood to have confessed to working for PSNI Special Branch for the past 12 months.
The man, who comes from the north of the county, was responsible for setting up and recruiting a number of young people into an INLA cell in south Derry.
INLA members have said that the man has admitted on tape to having organised a number of attacks on Orange halls in south Derry in recent weeks on the instructions of Special Branch handlers.
A source close to the INLA’s leadership last night said the organisation is offering a one-week amnesty to all informers.
“It is noteworthy that this man has not been killed. There is now a one-week amnesty for all informers to come forward. This man was told to recruit members into the INLA and was trying to start tensions with other republican groupings. He was responsible for passing on information, both real and false. He would have portrayed himself as a senior INLA figure.”