Prisoners stage 24-hour hunger strike

Republican prisoners in Maghaberry in County Antrim have stepped up their protest by staging a 24-hour fast.

Protesting republican prisoners have issued five demands. They are demanding the right to free association, an end to controlled movement, the right to full-time education, segregated visits, and the right to organise their own wing.

Richard Walsh, a spokesman for the Republican Prisoners’ Action Group, said prisoners had been forced to take the protest action.

“This is designed to increase the pressure on prison authorities and is part of an ongoing protest. The prisoners are very determined, and the protest will go on until they obtain their demands.

“The RPAG call on the public to give their support to the POWs at this time.

“The hunger strikers [of 1981] sacrificed themselves to improve conditions for those POWs who came after them and to ensure that political status was available to POWs as of right. No one can be justified in signing away the rights of others. However, that is what happened in the Good Friday Agreement, and POWs are now in a position where they must begin the fight for political status again.”

A statement issued by the OC of the CIRA prisoners in Maghaberry at the beginning of the protest said: “the protest which we now embark upon will not end until our demands are met.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News