Yesterday’s anti-internment march


I  was trying to get to St Anne’s Square in Belfast yesterday afternoon and was held up by an anti-internment parade. It was pelting rain but the line of marchers, it seemed, went on and on. When they got to Castle Court, I learned this morning, they were pelted with coins and plastic bottles and insults. 

As a man called Dee Fennell said on BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster this morning, why was the expense and hostility aroused by their march called into question, when hundreds of Loyal Order marches move through Royal Avenue and nobody says a word?  To which I’d add: why is it that we must have those hundreds of marches year after year, decade after decade, century after century? For events that occurred several hundred years ago?

In contrast, yesterday’s march was in support of the claim that there are people in prison  north and th south who have not received a fair trial. That is intrinsically not just wrong but stupid. If a state wants to engender respect for the rule of law, it must set an example. Imprisonment of people without trial is setting a very bad example.

Are the cases that Dee Fennell spoke of on the radio this morning genuine? Are the injustices he spoke of true? If they are, we  should  all raise our voices. To my embarrassment, I don’t know the details of the Craigavon 2 case or other cases referred to by Mr Fennell. Do you?

So here’s my invitation to him: if you want a platform for your case, I’m happy to allow you to make it with a blog here. We’re neither Brazil nor sluggerotoole but in our own way, we’re not bad. Over to you, Mr Fennell.

24 Responses to Yesterday’s anti-internment march

  1. giordanobruno August 11, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Nobody says a word about loyalist parades. Patently not true.
    However I don’t quite understand what the loyalist protest was about yesterday. The parade could hardly be seen as glorifying any illegal grouping and recognition of the wrong of internment is a perfectly legitimate activity.
    Was it because it was going through the city centre?
    If so I cannot see how loyalist groups can complain about that, though the traders may well be entitled to be unhappy.

    • Jude Collins August 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      Oh gio – I love it when I’m right…Yes, it sometimes happens…Dee Fennell this morning on Raidio Uladh distinctly spoke of hundreds of loyalist / loyal order (I guess there’s a difference) going along Royal Avenue with no hoo-haaa…Damn. Now you’ve sown a seed of doubt. But that was certainly the thrust of what he said

      • giordanobruno August 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

        He does mention the loyal parades, but it seems it was you paraphrasing when you add tht “nobody says a word”.
        Whether it is your opinion or his it is clearly not true given the coverage and debate there has been about parades (mainly loyalist) in recent years.
        But to reiterate I don’t know why there was a loyalist counter protest at all.Specifically what were they objecting to? I suppose I could ask them,I’m sure they are on twitter (as you are fond of saying).
        Banning all parades from the city centre would bring its own problems.
        Are we banning the Pride parade, St Paddy’sDay, human rights marches, anti war protests trade union marches the Lord Mayor’s Show etc?

  2. ben madigan August 11, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    yesterday’s parade/march was the first time ever republicans marched in belfast city centre.
    The very first – even the Guardian said so!!
    look what happened when they tried to go along Royal Avenue last year

  3. TheHist August 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Jude, I think like many legal systems, there will be many unfair trials and miscarriages of justice. We have witnessed the Guilford Four and Birmingham Six cases amongst the most notable miscarriages of justice. Bring Irish was enough to seal their fate. I recall a comment when reading a previous article in relation to the Birmingham six “better they remained in jail, than the British Judiciary looked foolish.” How many times in our own History has this happened ? How many occasions was there a conviction secured for the sake of it? How many people were deemed guilty before they had a right to a fair trial?

    The old notion of “innocent until proven guilty” does not seem to resonate in many justice systems throughout the world, perhaps guilty until proven innocent would be more appropriate???? In our situation, particularly who are have faced political charges, there must be an element of bias within the judiciary. This brings into question the Diplock system that was introduced in 1973 to deal with political offences or as the state referred to it as “terrorism.” For 40 years Diplock courts have and still remain a source of controversy – a temporary solution still remains as an emergency power in the North, even after a commitment in the GFA to abolish them and the SOS ending them in 2007. Is it fair one judge can make a decision? Does this bring the notion of justice into disrepute? Will the Diplock courts ever go away?

  4. Francis D August 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    The Circumvention of the Rule of Law by the legal guardians of Law is not a practice confined to Ireland, but here, the excesses of these practices have been honed and perfected over many decades. That many people disagree with Republicans who engage with the Armed is hardly a secret, indeed the antagonists among pro and Anti GFA Republicans would probably be on a par with what happened after the Civil War in Ireland and the Antipathy felt between the Freestate V Irregulars for many Years after. Antagonisms among old Comrades aside, is it ever right for the State to Brush aside the Civil Rights and Liberties of its Citizens to Augment its Rule? The US do it on their own Citizens with Predator Reaper drone Bombing attacks that Execute its Opponents, or Suspected opponents with no recourse to Due process, and they are a Giant Liberal Democracy with all sorts of Statutes protecting its Citizens and their inaliable rights to “Life Liberty And The Pursuit of Happiness”. Guantantemo Bay isolates these Human Threats/Suspects in large Cages where they are kept a safe distance from the Grand Democracy the doubtless intend to Usurp. Mossad regularly assassinate Iranian Scientists, Palestinian Exiles, Political Radicals who contest Zionist expansion in the Middle East, and smear their opponents as anti-Semitic(for example, the Jewish Born Radical Noam Chomsky and his calculated campaign to eliminate himself along with other Jewish People from the Map).

    Back to Ireland and the March against Internment By remand, Brutality against the incarcerated Prisoners,-(If you call Forced Srip searches beating, Prolonged Isolation in Solitary Confinement, Degrading Physical and Sexual assaults by often Zealous Sectarian Prison Officers as Brutality……But then of Course, they deserve such Degradations given their Zealous Opposition to the Structures that exist and Powers that be, don’t they…..?
    ………….This is where it gets problematic though. Opposition to Sinn Fein say When it comes to Loyalist Marches being Accomodated in Ardoyne, Or anywhere they are not wanted, can get one labelled a dissident…..GARC,(Greater Ardoyne Residents Committee) gave Dee Fennell over Eight Hundred first preference votes exactly on this premise…Surely those Eight Hundred People in Ardoyne by Sinn Feins own Rationale on this matter, are Dissidents? No? Then again the Hemogenous Dissident agenda, resolute and cohesive is to be Anti Everything British, and Loyalists Marching through Ardoyne with the bands named after Catholics Murdered there, and the intractability of those who live there to quietly except these sectarian Celebrations, Well, They Just Damn Well Wont be Happy til they Destroy the Peace will they now?….Amyway on the merits or otherwise of the Brutality Quietly inflicted upon the Prisoners, they deserve it surely/ There has been a fair Trial without Diplock Courts, No Evidence Tampering, Framing, incarceration indefinitely only for Years later the case to be dismissed because their was no evidence to begin with, No MI5 intrigue with Covert British Army Security Apparatus relaying “Evidence” behind closed doors, omly for the Evidence to be claimed not to be revealible as this might Compromise future British Army Use of such covert surveillance apparatus…Only for the Evidence to mysteriously vanish,- The Craigavon 2 and their case well, Read up on it, A laugh a minute you can be assured.

    So….No Due process, Evidence tampering, Framing, internment by Remand, thence incarcerated, to be Brutalised by HRM officers who refused recently to take an ill female prisoner to Hospital for badly needed treatment because she refused to be Strip Searched leaving and returning….On release, also, No talking to the Media Martin Corey now! Or we will stick you back in gaol, Call me Cynical, but after such a Protracted Conflict, but is this is what is known as the Peace Dividend?

    This is an on going and unaccoutible abuse of power by the “Dark” side of the Force as McGuinness said on another matter. I am not Anti-Sinn Fein, but on hearing the Speakers in Andersonstown at the rally, not one SF representative was present to champion the Rights of People such treated…….The Armed should be over I believe, but if SF wish to propose a treatise called A Vindication of the Rule of Law, they should perhaps make it accountable, and not leave it to Surreptitious Miscreants in the Shadows of Whiehall to give quiet agreements to the next abuse of Due Process….This is 2014 and not 1984, and such illegal agendas will only stoke the flames of further discord.

  5. michael c August 11, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    Dee Fennell is a mouthpiece for those opposed to the GFA and claims to speak for the residents of Ardoyne when he clearly does not.He stood and failed to get elected in last Mays elections ,being trounced by SF who had 3 councillors elected in that particular ward.Any campaign he is associated with is compromised because people will see it as dissident inspired and shy away.A couple of weeks ago people on this site were urging SF to help dissident prisoners.SF MLAs went into the jail and met them and were rewarded with a statement in the Irish News from their jail OC strongly denouncing the party.The truth is Jude ,I have supported prisoner campaigns since the time of internment and I have never seen such disinterest in prisoner issues in my community as there is now.This is due to the calibre of prisoner and those supporting them and is one serious hurdle to climb.

    • Jude Collins August 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      I take your point, Michael C; but there are either people in jail who are innocent or there are people in jail who are guilty. When we don’t like someone it’s all the more important that we see they are given full access to the law and full justice. That’s what tests our commitment to justice.

    • Francis D August 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      So the Calibre of the Prisoner Micheal c, determines whether or not we should be collectively be interested in his/her Human Rights and Treatment? A precarious Argument. There is no accountability in the Judicial and Policing apparatus as exists. our Pro Consul Villiers makes determinations which over-rides both,-Who in Ardoyne, or in the Six counties, or anywhere in Ireland Voted her in? By your logic Dee Fennel is unrepresentative because of missing out on a council seat, but the British state has no Mandate whatsoever, so your point is? MI5 in Ireland are accountable to who exactly?

      The Rights of any of our Citizens not to be Brutalised in gaol, Interned or censored, is an absolute and must be guarded by all. Gerry Conlon and others recognised, and recognise that this interference goes to the heart of the matter concerning Accoutible Judicial process and Government,- or was he a mere Dupe used as a mouth piece by Dissidents to further their wayward agenda…..This is throwback time to the bad old days of the Dirty War, and methinks with your comment with all due respect Micheal c, that there is more than a little complacency with this wholly unacceptable retinue of injustices, and the unaccountable super structure which facilitates it.

  6. TheHist August 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Jude, I reference your article “I learned this morning, they were pelted with coins and plastic bottles and insults” – you must have learned from an unreliable source as William Humphrey of the DUP released a statement on yesterday’s anti internment march, stating “Thankfully those protesting against the parade demonstrated restraint.” Yes restraint, as in the actions of keeping control …

    Like you, I heard (and witnessed via media) from a number of sources and they tell a different story to William’s. (Even Willie Frazer admitted there was trouble within his own circles). Every news broadcast and Including today’s Irish News quite clearly stipulates, illustrates and provides evidence that Unionist / Loyalist protestors threw bottles, bricks, coins, fireworks, a metal grate, damaged a bar in castle street and with a police officer and individual injured – this certainly dosent illustrate restraint to me … Now that’s not to say those taking part in the march didn’t engage in abusive acts, they did. Yet again we witness the typical distorted Norn iron viewpoint …

  7. Argenta August 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I note in today’s Irish News that there was an event about the “Craigavon Two” at the Feile at the weekend.Perhaps an opportunity missed to increase your knowledge of that particular case.

    • Jude Collins August 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      You’re quite right, Argenta (not words you’ll often see from me) – I had intended to catch that event and then life got in the way. I now wish I had.

  8. michael c August 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    The point I am making Francis is that Fennell is a self appointed spokesman for Ardoyne.Do you think for one moment that if SF had failed to get anyone elected in that area that it would not have been thrown in their faces constantly and they would have been dismissed as unrepresentative.Fennell was rejected by the electorate yet dusted himself off and was claiming within days that nothing could happen in Ardoyne without his say so. As for SF speaking at that rally ,they would have been booed off the stage by those attending which included a good proportion of hoods. Any attempt to compare those in jail with previous generations does not stand up.They are split into muliple factions that have to be separated from each other.They include “super republicans” who allowed their solicitors to name others in court to save their own skins.They include those who proclaimed themselves on hunger strike while downing mars bars by the box from the prison shop.Their reps on the outside pocketed prisoners dependents money from America (confirmed by the late Jim McAllister).They tried to make a hero out of people who preached fire and brimstone from the outside and then fell to pieces in jail and promised to be good boys and girls when released. They plead guilty in what they term “British courts” almost to a man and woman so forgive me if I dont give them the adulation which you think they deserve.

  9. Séan Tómas August 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Some of the marches didn’t help themselves by chanting “I I IRA”. If you don’t believe me, check out Youtube.

  10. Francis D August 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    The point I am making Micheal c has nothing to do with giving any Armed groups Adulation. I know the various groups involved are disparate in their aims and Agendas, and very well there may be undesirable elements both inside and outside these groups pulling strings. This is a human Rights issue however, which arguably goes to the Heart of the matter regarding unaccountability. If the Rule of Law is ascribed to by proponents of the GFA, which incidentally I voted for myself, then accountability and Equality must be adhered to. When those in Power remain unaccountable, then excesses and injustices can prevail, as in the case of the Craigavon 2.

  11. ANOTHER JUDE August 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Good to see the rally go through, even though the usual suspects were protesting. Unionists will have to get used to a fairer proportion of Nationalist/Republican marches and rallies in the city centre.

  12. Micheal August 12, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I can understand the Carrickhill people protesting at Loyalist/Unionist bandsmen and Orange men marching past St. Patrick’s Chapel while playing highly sectarian tunes and inflammatory tunes. What I fail to see is why the Loyalist community would protest at a ‘Republican’ march passing along Royal Avenue. Firstly, its no where near any Loyalist enclave, secondly there is no Protestant religious buildings on Royal Avenue at all.

    Were they just out to protest because ‘themuns’ did it, or were they out to make a statement or their own. The main point here I feel is the fact that Republicans of any denomination have just as much right to march on Royal Avenue as Loyalists do and I have no doubt the reason for the Loyalist protest was their disgust that Republicans would be allowed to march down a main thoroughfare, stop traffic and block roads just the way Loyalists and Unionists do and how dare Republicans march on a road they marched on just a few weeks ago, leaving bottles, chip wrappers, alcohol etc lying at their arses when they left, they sully the Queens Highway surely…. If this is to be a shared country then both sides need to have equal rights. Loyalists, Republicans, Nationalists, Unionists all need to realise these roads which are not part of a certain community are for everyone’s use not just for Loyalist and Unionist marches.

    The reason I say this is because I can’t help but feel the reason for the Loyalist protest was out of pure spite and protest at a Republican march being allowed outside of a Republican area…….remind you of a different parade?

    • giordanobruno August 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      That is my question exactly.Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Carrickhill residents,or camp Rwaddell say, we can at least understand the point they are protesting about.
      Even those who supported internment would presumably allow others to hold a different view and indeed protest about it.
      Having checked the parades commission website I see the protest was to show respect to UDR members and others murdered in the city centre. Yet I don’t see how an anti internment march is considered an affront to those killed in any way.

      • Jude Collins August 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        False parallel, gio…

        • giordanobruno August 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

          Care to elaborate?

      • Jude Collins August 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

        Certainly, gio. Anything to keep you happy. Insofar as I can make sense of what you’re saying, you’re drawing a parallel between the anti-internment march and a protest “to show respect to UDR members and others murdered in the city centre”. If that is the case, the comparison is between two events – one protesting at imprisonment without trial, the other over UDR members and others who were killed in the conflict period. The first is something that’s claimed to be happening now and can be righted. The second is something that has occurred and can’t possibly be changed/righted. If that’s not the parallel you’re drawing, I blame your clumsy prose, of course, and not any lack of razor-sharpness on my part.

        • giordanobruno August 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

          My prose must be clumsy alright. Though reading my last post again it seems clear enough. But I would say that,wouldn’t I?
          I’m just wondering at the logic of a protest whose purpose is listed as showing respect for those killed in the City Centre.
          A march against internment would not in any way disrespect any of those killed, being about the process of justice (notwithstanding the idiots allegedly shouting IRA slogans).
          In short I still fail to see what aspect of the march Willie Frazer and friends were protesting about.
          Hope that is clear.

  13. Dixie Elliott August 13, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    michael c claims ” and I have never seen such disinterest in prisoner issues in my community…”

    It seems he missed the couple of thousand who showed an interest on Sunday and forgets that only recently only about 300 or so bothered to turn up ‘from all over Ireland’ to protest at Gerry’s short 3 star incarceration in Antrim Barracks at the unveiling of the Kim Il-sung type mural.

    Or the embarrassing fact that claims of an attendance of 2,000 at the Devenish for Gerry was rubbished as that establishment revealed that it’s main function room held only a maximum of 900 and photos of the event were revealed to have been taken using a Fish-eye lens.

  14. michael c August 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    That couple of thousand included a good few hoods who had been constructing bonfires and torturing their communities.Gerry made SF the biggest party in ireland in the euro elections whilst the dissos could not even elect one councillor in the whole of Belfast . Eirigi who would have been prominent on Sunday could not even elect ONE councillor in ALL of Ireland and the so called 1916 societies managed 2 in the entire 32 counties. For the record even before SF contested elections ,pro prisoner independents were electing up to 3 dozen councillors in the north alone.