Hunger strike parade passes quietly
Hunger strike parade passes quietly

The United Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration took place without major incident on Sunday despite passing the loyalist Shankill Road area en route from Belfast city centre to west Belfast.

An altercation occurred between protesters and marchers with both sides trading taunts and abuse and some missiles hurled.

A small crowd or loyalists waved Union Jack flags outside Castlecourt shopping centre and shouted abuse at republicans as they made their way along Royal Avenue.

The crowd of about a thousand republicans made their way to Dunville Park on the Falls Road.

Marchers carried pictures of all of Ireland’s 22 hunger strikers.

Prominent Shankill Road loyalist William ‘Winky’ Dodds said his community sought a future of shared space.

Gerard Hodgins, spokesman for the march organisers, said he was glad the event passed off “relatively peacefully”.

“This definitely was not designed to inflame any sectarian passions.

“There was no speaker and we carried posters of 22 hunger strikers.

“We asked the Protestant people to accept the commemoration for what it was. We are not out to get into conflict with unionists in any form.”


In a separate development, Mr Hodgins joined relatives of republican prisoners in Maghaberry met the prisoner ombudsman at the weekend to raise concerns about conditions in the jail.

He described the meeting as “productive and worthwhile”.

“The families gave full details about ongoing problems when visiting their loved ones, strip searches and other issues of concern,” he said.

“Pauline McCabe listened and gave assurances that any complaints received by her office would be pursued vigorously.

“While our expectations of what would come from the meeting were not that high it was nonetheless worthwhile putting our concerns to the ombudsman.”

Yesterday, campaigners for the prisoners staged a white line picket during the Belfast marathon to highlight their plight

Many of the participants of the marathon voiced their support for the prisoners as they passed. Family and friends of the republican prisoners attended the white line picket as well as former PoWs.

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