Easter commemoration attacked by PSNI

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The PSNI have this afternoon attacked an Easter commemoration in Lurgan, County Armagh, injuring a woman and dramatically raising tensions ahead of a weekend of commemorative events.

It is understood to be the first time in years that a commemorative event has been attacked by the Crown Forces.

The event was organised by Republican Sinn Fein to honour all those who died in the cause of Irish freedom, and featured a colour party in military-style clothing.

In a disturbing scene at the Edward Costello Memorial Garden, two separate teams of PSNI suddenly moved in on the small commemoration. There were screams and hand-to-hand combat before a stand-off ensued.

Many of those attending the event were elderly. The woman hurt in the attack is 76 years of age and suffers from poor health, according to her daughter. It is thought there were a small number of arrests.

Last year, five republicans were charged with taking part in an illegal parade, several months after the same commemoration in the town.

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SAORADH

In Newry, there were also tensions at an event this morning. A commemoration organised by Saoradh was confronted by the PSNI police who displayed a banner declaring they had “no notice of this public procession/meeting” and threatening to prosecute those who participated. Armoured PSNI vehicles circled the cemetery for the duration of the event, some with surveillance equipment.

The main Saoradh-backed event by the National Republican Commemoration Committee was due to begin at the International Wall in west Belfast at 2.30pm, where a similar colour guard gathered, watched by PSNI helicopters.

Similar parades, held in Coalisland in County Tyrone in 2016 and Derry last year, saw military-style guards of honour and colour parties, to the fury of unionists.

A Saoradh spokesman said “those who remain true to the ideals and principles of the 1916 Proclamation need to publicly re-dedicate ourselves to the achievement of that vision”.

“The historical significance and symbolism of gathering in Belfast, the birthplace of Irish republicanism, will not be lost on the grassroots.”

1916 RELATIVES

Thousands of republicans are attending Easter parades across the north this weekend to mark the 102nd anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

In Dublin this afternoon, the 1916 Relatives Association held its annual Commemoration of the Easter Rising in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

The role of women in the 1916 rising has been hailed as “critical” at the ceremony. Noreen Byrne, a granddaughter of a 1916 combatant, said up to 300 women took part in the Rising, and that they were “strong, independent women prepared to resist prescribed roles.”

The ceremony was attended by several hundred people, many of whom were related to those that fought in the Rising.

SINN FEIN

One of the largest parades is expected to be in west Belfast on Sunday and organised by Sinn Fein and the National Graves Association Belfast.

Assembling at Beechmount Avenue at 1.30pm, those taking part in the parade will make their way to Milltown Cemetery where the party’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill will address the crowd.

Falls Cultural Society and IRA ‘D’ Company will also hold a parade assembling at Barrack Street at 11.30am before marchers make their way to the Garden of Remembrance on the Falls Road where speeches will be made and wreaths laid.

Sinn Fein Dublin’s Easter Commemoration takes place at 2:30pm at the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square in the city.

RSF

Republican Sinn Fein is holding a series of commemorations across Ireland over the Easter period. Its largest event is in Dublin, the National Easter Rising Commemoration. It assembles at the Garden of Remembrance at 1.45pm for March to the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin.

32SCM

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement will support a parade organised by the 1916 Commemoration Committee in Dublin on Monday. Participants will make their way from the Garden of Remembrance at 11.30am to the GPO where the proclamation will be read out. It will then proceed to Arbour Hill for wreath laying and speeches. Members of Irish Republican National Congress were also expected to attend.

The IRSP will gather at the Dunville Park on the Falls Road at 11am before proceeding to Milltown Cemetery where spokesman Ciaran Cunningham will give an address.

That march will be followed by the Worker’s Party parade which assembles at Beechmount Avenue at 2.30pm before making its way to Milltown Cemetery.

Eirigi Dublin is holding 1916 commemorations on Easter Sunday at 2pm, Bluebell Cemetery, Old Naas Road and 3pm Mount Street Bridge, Dublin 2.

Tyrone National Graves will hold their annual Easter gathering on Monday in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, at 3pm.

The annual Drumboe Commemoration organised by Drumboe Martyrs Commemoration Committee takes place at 2.30pm on Easter Sunday, meeting at the Old Fire Station in Stranorlar.

Newly formed socialist republican group Lasair Dhearg will also hold its first Easter commemoration on Monday with those taking part gathering at the main gates at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast at 1pm.

The Republican Network for Unity held its annual Fianna Eireann commemoration from Ardoyne Avenue in north Belfast at noon today.

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