Strong turnout for restricted anti-internment march


Over a thousand people took part in an anti-internment parade through Belfast which was banned from the city centre last weekend, while two tiny loyalist and fascist events were allowed to take place there.

The well-marshalled parade organised by the Anti-internment League (AIL) passed off quietly and ended in a rally at a PSNI barrier of Land Rovers and riot police.

It had earlier travelled from Ardoyne to North Queen Street through the Cliftonville Road, Antrim Road and New Lodge districts, but was prevented from carrying through to West Belfast.

The rally was chaired by AIL spokesman Dee Fennell and included an address by Lorraine Taylor whose husband Tony is currently interned in jail without charge.

Mrs Taylor said the jailing of her husband has “devastated” her entire family.

Former political prisoner Tony Taylor was summarily returned to prison last March by then British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers. Parole chiefs recently rejected a bid by him to be released from Maghaberry Prison.

Mrs Taylor told those attending that her husband has told her he is “committed to the process of the transition to a peaceful society”.

“And that view was clearly shared by the numerous people who spoke up for him in his parole hearing recently - including clergy, politicians, community and trade union mediators and human rights organisations ,” she said.

“The decision not to let him out was at best underhand.

“It was based on a secret submission to the hearing by the secret services, a submission that Tony could neither hear not challenge.”

In an unusual joint statement, the SDLP’s Mark H Durkan, Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion and MEP Martina Anderson aid Mr Taylor’s detention violated his human rights.

“The British government’s continued use of this unjust power to revoke someone’s license while providing no evidence of any wrongdoing is an affront to justice and human rights,” they said.

“As political leaders in this city and district we have raised Tony Taylor’s case at every level and supported the campaign for his release.”

They said Mr Taylor should either be brought before a court or released.

“If evidence exists to suggest he is a risk to the public it should be put before him and his legal team in open court so it can be challenged,” they said.

There was also strong condemnation of the burning of stolen campaign posters for Mr Taylor on loyalist bonfires in the Nelson Drive and Tullyally areas of Derry.

Ms McCallion said the placing of posters on the bonfires was a hate crime. Lorraine Taylor also expressed her disgust and said she would be reporting the incident to the PSNI.

“What would [DUP MP] Gregory Campbell have to say about this, he called my husband a terrorist, will he support the burning of his image on the bonfire?” she said.

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