A march is taking place in London today [Saturday] in opposition to the DUP and its policies.
Organised by a number of women’s activist groups, the rally is highlighting opposition to a proposed deal between the Conservative Party and the DUP.
Both the DUP and the Tories are continuing to negotiate a deal that would see Theresa May’s minority government propped up by Arlene Foster’s party.
But after nearly two weeks of negotiations, the mooted ‘confidence and supply’ agreement has not been finalised.
Most of the new attention on the DUP in Britain has focused on the party’s homophobia and religious fundementalism, rather that its history of sectarian intransigence in the north of Ireland or its links to loyalist paramilitary death squads.
Specifically, the rally has been organised in protest against the unionist’s party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Those taking part in the rally assembled at Parliament Square before marching to Whitehall and then gathering outside Downing Street.
Organisers said the event was a “march against the DUP”.
“We are marching in support of the right to access abortion in NI and against a Tory working agreement with no democratic mandate with a political group known to promote policy which restricts the rights of women and LGBT people and is known for links to far right politics,” said organisers.
Those attending the march have been asking to wear right red to highlight a number of issues including “the decision to gamble the rights, health and safety of LGBT+ people” and for “the blood shed before reaching an NI peace deal in protest at the decision to disregard this for power”.
Last week the Scottish government published a letter it received from the DUP leader Foster about its laws surrounding gay marriage. The correspondence, signed by Arlene Foster, was sent in early September 2015 when she was finance minister in the Stormont executive.
It follows calls to publish the letter when its existence emerged after the Westminster election results sparked fresh criticism of the DUP’s opposition to gay marriage.
Former Scottish minister Marco Biagi had revealed Mrs Foster wrote to him asking to prevent same-sex marriage access for Irish couples, which the DUP has vetoed at the Stormont Assembly.
Mrs Foster had denied sending the letter.
“I’m not quite sure what he was referring to but it certainly wasn’t a letter from me and I have no recollection of a letter from me,” she said.
In her letter to Mr Biagi, Mrs Foster said she was “concerned” about Scottish government proposals and wanted to provide “legal certainty” by restricting the definition of civil partnership which qualified as same-sex marriage “so as to exclude civil partnerships which were entered into in Northern Ireland”.
The Green Party has also criticised Democratic Unionist Party MPs over their links to the Caleb Foundation, a Christian fundamentalist creationist pressure group. Its lobbying led the National Trust to controversially include a ‘younger Earth’ version of the origins of the Giant’s Causeway at its visitor centre. The Caleb Foundation has also formally objected to museums depicting evolution as an accepted fact.
The DUP has also opposed climate change targets, with former Stormont ‘Environment Minister’ Sammy Wilson placing a ban on government TV and radio adverts that were encouraging people to cut their carbon emissions. Wilson described the ads as insidious green propaganda.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas calling them ‘dinosaurs’ in the Westminster parliament on Wednesday. She later apologised for ‘any offence caused to prehistoric creatures’.