Two republican activists boarded a British warship in Belfast last weekend.
The ship which was in Belfast as part of the Tall Ships festival. While temporarily posing as loyal supporters of the Royal Marines the two eirigi members proceeded to distribute DVDs on Britishj war crimes to members of the crew and other British military personnel.
While on board the warship the two activists also photographed members of the British military encouraging children to handle automatic weapons.
As the pair left the ship up to a dozen members of the PSNI arrived, apparently intent on carrying out arrests. They quickly withdrew, however, as a number of journalists began to interview the eirigi activists.
Following the protest eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson said the presence of the British Military at the Tall Ships event was “an absolute disgrace”.
“What should have been a great day for Belfast and Ireland has been marred in a transparent attempt by the British military to normalise its occupation of the Six Counties.
“eirigi announced a couple of days ago that we intended to challenge the Royal Marine Band here today, but strangely enough they didn’t turn up - using the excuse of bad weather to cover their fear of eirigi upsetting their planned photo opportunity.
“When our activists boarded the Mounts Bay the last thing they expected to find were young children being encouraged to handle weapons by the British military. It is absolutely disgusting that the Tall Ships event was used to familiarise children with the weapons of war. It seems that the British Navy is now happy to encourage child soldiers in Ireland.
“It is a sad piece of irony that the DVDs we distributed today contain many images of similar children killed by similar weapons yielded by the British military.”
Meanwhile, eirigi protests in Dublin and Enniskillen marked the thirty-eighth anniversary of the introduction of internment.
At both locations the theme of protest was the same - demanding an end to 28-day detention and the use of plastic bullets by the occupation forces.
Over 60 eirigi activists and supporters attended the protest outside the British Embassy in Dublin, while 25 people joined the protest at the PSNI barracks in Enniskillen.
Banners and placards bearing the slogans ‘End 28-day detention’, ‘Plastic bullets kill’, ‘Britain out of Ireland’ and ‘PSNI - RUC No Change’ were well received in both locations with many motorists beeping their car horns in support.
At the Dublin protest eirigi’s Ursula Ni Shionnain read the names of all seventeen people killed by plastic bullets, before a minute’s silence was observed in their memory.
Speaking outside of the British Embassy, eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson said: “It is encouraging to see so many people here today. 28-day detention is simply internment by a different name. Its introduction marks a significant roll-back of basic civil liberties that were hard fought for over many years. The fact that a 17 year old was detained under this legislation earlier this year is a particularly worrying development.”
Mr Leeson continued, “It is no coincidence that in the last six months we have seen the introduction of 28 detentions, the re-deployment of British Army Special Forces and plastic bullets being used again. All of these measures are part of the wider British counter-insurgency strategy in Ireland. Protests like today’s are important in highlighting the fact that the nature of the occupation remains fundamentally unchanged, despite the veneer of normalisation that Britain is so keen to promote.”