Republicans protested in Belfast city centre on Saturday at the celebration of [British] Armed Forces Day in the north.
Last June, PSNI riot squads hemmed peaceful protestors into the Castle Street area when they attempted to make their way east into the city centre to oppose the triumphalist British military celebration.
However, this year, Eirigi succesfully staged the protest at Belfast City Hal “despite the best efforts of dozens of PSNI landrovers and scores of political police, as well as attempted intimidation by unionist elements”, the group said.
John McCusker, the chairperson of eirigi in west Belfast, said that, while the British government has now designated June 26 as ‘Armed Forces Day’, families across the Six Counties and beyond are living with the fact that nobody has ever been held to account for the state killings of their loved ones.
He also stated that eirigi’s campaign for a British withdrawal was just beginning.
eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson said: “Today, the inability of the PSNI to permanently prevent the right to protest was witnessed. All those who made their way to Belfast City Hall are to be commended for upholding this fundamental right in the face of a major attempt at mass intimidation.
“The British government and its agencies of occupation should take note that significant numbers of nationalists and republicans are once again prepared to defy their thugs in uniform in pursuance of the national independence struggle. These numbers will only grow in the time ahead.”
eirigi has also announced the first elements of its campaign of opposition to an official visit by the British head of state, the ‘Queen of England’, with a motion to be put to Dublin City Council opposing the visit.
A protest is to be held as the motion is debated on Monday, July 5, at City Hall on Dublin’s Dame Street. It is expected to last for at least one and a half hours.
Speaking in advance of the protest Cathaoirleach eirigi Brian Leeson said, “For the first time in many years we in the Twenty-Six Counties now have a very real and tangible opportunity to challenge the normalisation of the British occupation of our country.
“We in the Twenty-Six Counties have a moral obligation to demonstrate solidarity with our fellow citizens who are forced to live under British occupation in the Six Counties. One way that we can demonstrate that solidarity is by opposing the proposed visit of Elizabeth Windsor.
“Those who support that occupation hope that a visit by Windsor to the Twenty-Six Counties will be defined by images of adoring, union-jack waving crowds. Those of us who oppose the occupation must ensure that any visit will be defined by images of anger, protest and resistance.”