Harassment and arrest for peaceful protest
Harassment and arrest for peaceful protest


Republican activists have been subjected to harassment on issues varying from Palestine to poverty.

On Saturday February 17, members of Anti Imperialist Action and Saoirse Don Phalaistín were arrested after attending the national demonstration in Dublin in support of Palestine on vague ‘public order’ offences.

After learning the two men were brought to Irishtown Garda Station, some protestors went to the station to demand their release.

Some attempted to enter the station but were removed by Gardaí, who then blocked the entrance. Chants by protestors at the station included “Let them out”, “Drew Harris RUC”, and “Who’s cops? Israel’s cops”.

“A number of Palestinian solidarity activists, including a republican activist arrested for wearing a Kufiya, the Palestinian national scarf and international symbol of resistance, were arrested, detained for a number of hours and charged on trumped up charges to appear in the Free State Courts in March,” Anti Imperialist Action said.

They condemned what they described as a campaign of harassment and intimidation being waged against solidarity and republican activists.

“Supporting Palestine is not a crime and we will never accept it being criminalised. The true criminals are based in the Zionist Embassy on the 5th floor of 23 Shelbourne Rd, under the protection of the free state despite the overwhelming majority of the Irish people wanting the embassy closed and the ambassador expelled for good.

“Harassment, arrest and political charges will not stop Republicans from standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestine or voicing our support for the Palestinian Resistance and their heroic fight for freedom.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Republican Socialist party said the Crown Forces had reached a “a new low” in west Belfast when their members were stopped while travelling to a long-anticipated meeting aimed at combating deprivation and the ‘cost of living’ crisis.

Campaign items were seized by armed and masked members of the PSNI police, they said.

“For some years now the IRSP have led initiatives on combatting benefits cuts, high rents, food banks and more.

“Yet while the PSNI are happy to allow drug dealers roam free they today actively targeted community workers on their way to what they knew was a meeting to combat poverty in west Belfast.”

Republican Sinn Féin said that in the early hours of February 17, former political prisoner Gabriel Mackle and his wife Joanne were travelling to collect one of their sons when they were intercepted by an RUC/PSNI police car. Held on the side of the road, Mr Mackle was taken to Banbridge and charged over a warrant for which they refused to provide information.

“This is just another episode in a long litany of harassment and intimidation of the Mackle family, it is continuous and relentless,” they said.

“So much for the ‘new’ police force. There are many other examples of RUC/PSNI harassment of Republicans in the Six Occupied Counties. Sadly, these are supported by people who call themselves Republicans and who now rule in the partitionist parliament in Stormont.”

Saoradh also noted that on the same day that Sinn Féin First Minister Michelle O’Neill attended a passing out ceremony of the Crown Forces “the same occupying forces were busy targeting a Republican activist in Derry.

“As the ‘new dawn’ and ‘new dispensation’ of so called policing gets a renewed boost with the attendance of former Republicans at a graduation ceremony, the family home of a Republican in the Creggan area of Derry was ransacked as he was cable tied, put in a forensic suit and hauled off to be interrogated.

“Meanwhile, the Republican activists’ family was harassed, his children put to the street on the morning of their birthday and cars, phones and children’s toys seized.

“Despite Sinn Féin’s overwhelming support for the occupation, for the Republican community it’s business as usual this week with at least three Republicans being hauled off to Musgrave Interrogation Centre, and one being interned in Maghaberry.”

They concluded: “The occupiers goal is to harass, imprison and restrict as many Republicans as possible. This will fail, just like it has in the past.”

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