Belfast Anti-Internment march moved from Ardyone avenue at 2.30 pm making its way down the Old park road, it was clear the PSNI had no intentions of letting the march go further than near the top of Rosepenna street.
Numbers today were greater than any year before, people from all over the country come to support the Political prisoners and their plight inside British and Irish jails, and to stand against the use of draconian measures which enable the state to lock any person they perceive to be a threat to the current status Quo.
After the speeches were given organizers made it clear that violence and the wrecking of our own community would solve nothing and that the marchers should disperse and make there way back up the Oldpark road and into Ardyone avenue, bands and marchers marched through Ardyone and finished off in Ardyone.
I made my way back from Ardyone up towards the Old park road, hearing that some violence had kicked off but it was nothing serious, as we reached the top of Rosapenna street the PSNI had the place locked down, 2 water cannons were deployed in Rosapenna itself. I spoke to one person who lived beside the trouble and asked was things serious he told me no but the water canons were deployed thus escalating the situation.
My question is why did the PSNI not move away from Rosapenna and line up were they usually do down beside Hillview more than 45 minutes after the march had made its way back to Ardyone?
From what i can see things escalated once the water canons were deployed, the BBC reported that supporters of the march had started the violence but this was untrue, i can’t say people from the march did not take part in the violence but what i can say is that the march was well over before this trouble flared, the youth who were around the area would have been there anyway Anti internment march or not, it has always been the case when a heavy PSNI presence like today hung around trouble would flare, so for the BBC reporter to say that is false and lies.
So far four people have been arrested for the violence seen at Rosapenna street. One of which was a pregnant woman, video footage shows PSNI restraining and shoving the woman into the back of a land rover as she pleads for them to let her go saying that they were right outside her door and that her kids where in the house.
From talking to the people of the area the PSNI operation on the 9th has been seen as an assault on the community, many stating their disgust at what happened to the pregnant woman. One person can be seen getting shoved by a police officer as she held her child in some of the footage taking of the womans arrest.
Residents also voiced disgust at the police operation stating that people were basically held prisoner in their own homes. Some could not even get home as the PSNI denied them passage.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted: “Those who organised today’s so-called anti-internment demonstration in Belfast bear full responsibility for the violence which followed.”
So called in Martins words, so is Internment just some imagination conjured up in the minds of everyone who attended? Go back 2 decades and Martin would have been bestowing his gratitude to the community for rallying against such injustices.
It’s an uncomfortable truth for Mr.McGuinness that Internment still exists in Ireland. With people being locked up on evidence and none provided by intelligence services wasting away in jail cells for months even years indefinitely without trial cannot be a figment of our collective imagination can it? Some would have us believing blues black and
blacks blue if they could.
No matter how much the media or certain political parties try to paint it Sundays march was statement by the people that they oppose internment and the brutal treatment of political prisoners. Every single year this march grows and the voice of opposition to Internment along with it.
For those who claim responsibility for yesterdays violence lay at the feet of the organizers and marchers obviously where not there or have been given false information on what actually had taken place on the day of the march. In my opinion the blame must lie at the feet of the PSNI for haven not moved out or at very least pulled back to Hillview like they have done in the past.
In the days following the police operations in the bone area of North Belfast people are still in uproar at police actions on the 9th day of the march. A community meeting was hosted by the AIL (Anti Internment League) with a panel made up of community workers, AIL representatives and a local solicitor to over see the meeting held at Manor street community center.
During the meeting anger was palpable between residents with criticisms at PSNI’s refusal to withdraw from the area even after the parade and the marchers had made their way back into Ardyone. Residents were also voicing their anger at police brutality witnessed and documented.
It was a telling sign for me that Sinn Fein did not show up for the meeting even tho they had accepted to be there, maybe this would have something to do with Martin McGuinnesses comments recently about the parade and its organizers.
What has been clear to me throughout the past few days from the 9th to now that people in the area are furious at how they had been subjected to such treatment and then how mainstream media and certain politicians tried to twist what had really happened on the day.