Loyalists may attempt to block anti-internment march
Loyalists may attempt to block anti-internment march


Loyalists have said they will not seek permission to oppose the annual anti-internment march, which will take place on Sunday, August 7. The move could spark a confrontation as up to 5,000 people and at least four bands are expected to take part in the march.

The parade has been organised to mark the 45th anniversary of the introduction of internment in 1971, which saw hundreds of nationalists jailed without charge.

The parade is also intended to highlight the ongoing process by which republicans are being interned ‘by remand’, held on trumped-up charges without trial.

In 2013 there was serious violence on Royal Avenue - Belfast’s busiest shopping street - after loyalists opposed to the parade clashed with the PSNI. Last August’s anti-internment march was stopped by the PSNI near Ardoyne in north Belfast as hundreds of loyalists gathered in the city centre for a major protest.

However, parade organisers say this year’s march will leave Andersonstown in west Belfast before moving down Castle Street and onto Donegall Place at its junction with Royal Avenue. The procession will then make its way to Belfast City Hall where a stage will be erected for a rally which is expected to be finished by 1.30pm.

Anti-Internment League spokesman Gerard Fitzpatrick said some city centre traders and loyalists had raised objections about the location and timing of last year’s march. “This year’s route means no such objections from this quarter.”

He said that as well as remembering the introduction of internment, the parade has been organised to raise awareness of the continued use of internment by the British and Free State governments by remand and revocation of early release licences and through miscarriage of justice.

He added that the parade is open to people from all political background, and had been organised with the support of community representatives, individual trade union members and human rights activists.

“This is an opportunity for people to peacefully demonstrate against these actions,” he said.

A campaign to free one internee, Derry republican Tony Taylor, is being officially launched at a public meeting in the city next Tuesday. Mr Taylor, a spokesperson for Republican Network for Unity, was jailed in Derry on March 10.

The SDLP and Sinn Fein both supported a motion calling for Mr Taylor’s immediate release from prison at a council meeting last month.

A spokesperson for the campaign called on anyone with a regard for civil liberties or human rights to attend Tuesday’s meeting and back the drive to have Mr Taylor released from prison.

The ‘Free Tony Taylor’ campaign will be launched at a public meeting in the Maldron Hotel on Tuesday at 7.30pm.

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