Lasair Dhearg activists said they have carried out a “new guerilla marketing strategy” throughout Belfast to highlight the ongoing British occupation of the north of Ireland.
Early morning commuters awoke to find bus stop advertisements across the city had been replaced with the party’s campaign posters.
Featuring a British soldier, they state ‘20,000+ Security Personnel Maintain Britain’s Occupation of Ireland’.
This figure is understood to include all Crown Forces from Britain’s Army, Navy, Air Force, MI5, the PSNI police, and others involved in administration.
Pádraic MacCoitir, spokesperson for the socialist republican group, described the PSNI as “a locally recruited paramilitary police force, the structures of which are largely made up of former members of the ‘Royal Ulster Constabulary’. It has the same purpose and function as its predecessor; to protect the British state, and British interests, in Ireland.”
He added: “The PSNI is a core component in Britain’s counter-insurgency strategy in Ireland; its members wear body armour, travel in armoured jeeps, are armed with an array of weaponry from deadly plastic bullets, CS gas, to high-powered sub machine guns and assault rifles. It is the eyes and ears of the British state, and the first line of defence for the British occupation in Ireland.”
“This is backed up by a permanent garrison of British soldiers, numbering in their thousands, with an array of military hardware including helicopters, armoured boats, associated missile systems and much more. These troops, along with the PSNI, have permanent and widespread powers to stop, search, arrest and seize; and are ready and waiting to deploy to a street or field near you at a moment’s notice.”
The group, founded in 2018, has previously run ‘Smash Normalisation’ and ‘End the Occupation’ campaigns. It has also previously erected “alternative” street signs in Belfast featuring the names of Irish historical figures, replacing names linked to British colonialisation and slavery.
“We hope that the continued roll-out of our campaigns will smash the myth that Ireland’s Six Counties exist within a new post-Good Friday normality,” Mr MacCoitir said.
“There is nothing normal about Britain’s continued occupation, and there is nothing normal about it’s ‘Police Service’ either.”