Anti-Internment march restricted from entering the so called ‘shared space’ of Belfast City center

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Internment not a serious enough topic to be demonstrated against on the streets of Belfast city center? So the Parades Commision have determined.

Days ago a determination was made on the Anti-Internment march set for next month which has banned the march from proceeding past Divis.

Every Anti-Internment march to this day has passed off peacefully, there were situations that did end in violence but this was nothing to do with the Anti-Internment march or its participants, in fact, when trouble did flair up it was due to the failures of the PSNI and those that seeked to exploit the situation.

From the failures of the PSNI to pull out riot squads from the Bone district in North Belfast last year which sparked violence long after the Anti Internment march passed into Ardyone, to the failures of PSNI to contain Loyalist protesters from attacking the march in previous years.

The fact of the matter is that this new found equality in the North does not include Republicans or the injustices committed in order to silence them.

Belfast City Center has been used as a rallying point for many groups, organizations and people to raise awarness around any given cause and rightly so!

But what if you’re Republican and seeking to highlight the inhumane degrading injustices committed here on our own doorsteps? Well you don’t need to look much further than this determination by the Parades Commission.

It’s no secret that those who go against the grain are labelled as ‘dissidents’, this name is usually associated armed groups but has been used loosely to describe those not in favour of the Good Friday Agreement and the path taken by those in power.

The use of the name helps degrade and degenerate the position of those labelled as ‘dissidents’ in order to lower their positions in general.

This has been done a lot in recent years helping sow the myth that all ‘dissidents’ were taking part in some sort of armed actions against the state.

This is false and always has been, it was convenient to label all Republican activists who did not support Sinn Fein or the path they were taking as ‘dissidents’, this sowed the seed that all those against the GFA were criminal in some way or another.

Ordinary people not only political activists and Republicans take part in the march, even families are we all criminals?

Some media outlets have tried to undermine the march and what the march represents.

The Anti-Internment League have launched legal proceedings against the decision to restrict the march from entering the city center.

In articles by the bbc and others they wrongly claim that trouble flared up at the march last year, this is a false account of the day, the march was away from the junction of Rosapena and the Oldpark at least 25 minutes before trouble flared.

Organisers of the march called for calm and for everyone to disperse from the area where PSNI had blocked the march from proceeding its intended route.

After several speeches were read out the march then turned back and made its way into Ardyone and then dispersed.

Crowds had gathered at both sides of police lines at the junction of Rosapena and Oldpark, people were furious that police were moving in with sheilds and batons drawn, this caused some to lash out.

It is wrongly accused that it was participants of the march who started the trouble. But first hand accounts of the day and video footage prove otherwise, as crowds from the area gathered things began to get serious. People from the area were angry and this boiled over.

Without drawing out the police instead of defusing a peaceful situation inflamed it. Videos of the day verify the fact that the march was away from the area before trouble kicked off.

This year the march will be bigger and better and untill people wake up to the reality that Internment still remains and action is taken to address it, direct action will continue.

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