Tonight Saoradh activists, supported by comrades from other Republican organisations, attempted to enter a pro-PSNI event at Belfast City Hall that had been advertised as a “public meeting”. Despite this, heavily armed PSNI militiamen prevented Republicans from entering, thus making a mockery of their own event. Below is the text of a speech by lifelong Republican and ex-Prisoner Fionnuala Perry, Saoradh’s National Vice-Chairperson.
Saoradh would like to thank everyone for turning up to this protest tonight. I especially want to thank those from other Republican and Progressive organisations that have joined with us in solidarity .We have gathered here at Belfast City Hall to demonstrate our opposition to MI5-directed British Policing in Ireland and ongoing State Harassment of Republican activists.
In Belfast within the last year there have been almost 3000 Stop and Searches, each one an individual attack on a person’s right to hold a political opinion. Many of these involve children. Children who are either searched themselves, or witness the degradation of their parents or family member.
All of these searches are an infringement of people’s rights but the ongoing physical and emotional abuse of children by the armed thugs of the PSNI is utterly grotesque.
In addition, the continuing home invasions, scurrilous arrests, MI5/PSNI directed censorship, politically motivated charges, collusion with loyalists and refusal to co-operate with State Murder and Collusion investigations all make a mockery of claims that the armed men and women here tonight are part of a normal police service. They are the frontline force of British occupation in Ireland.
This protest coincides with an event hosted by Belfast “Policing and Community Safety Partnership” (PCSP), a policing body made up of PSNI/RUC personnel, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Political Unionism and Loyalist paramilitaries. All of whom are financial beneficiaries as a result of their complicity in the Human Rights abuses that I have listed. They profit under the guise of a failed peace process, while the communities they purport to represent suffer from the continuing poverty process that they all contribute to.
Under the facade of being an “accountability mechanism” that empowers communities, the PCSP is instead used to promote, endorse and advocate on behalf of Britain’s frontline force in Ireland. A police force that is the most heavily armed in Europe, with the most draconian legislation at it’s disposal and directed by Britain’s intelligence service MI5. That they gather here tonight in a supposed attempt to tackle anti-community behaviour is perverse, given that the PSNI facilitate and enable criminality via their continued employment of those engaged in such activities in return for information on Republicans.
Saoradh shall continue to oppose British Policing in Ireland – regardless of the threats, intimidation and attempts to demonise and criminalise our activists. We shall do so safe in the knowledge that we do so with a solid Republican base that refuses to bend the knee.
In the words of Bobby Sands, “They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. We refuse to lie here in dishonor! We are not criminals, but Irishmen! This is the crime of which we stand accused. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal…Our revenge will be the laughter of our children!”
Go raibh mile mhaith agaibh agus beirigi bua.”