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Normality suspended to promote Normalisation

20/03/08

Armagh city was today (Thursday) swamped with hundreds of RUC-PSNI gunmen to facilitate the official visit of the commander-in-chief of Britain’s armed forces, Elizabeth Windsor.

The unfortunate citizens of Armagh had to deal with traffic chaos and wholesale disruption in one of the largest operations mounted by the British police in Ireland in a number of years.

As vehicles and individuals were stopped and searched across the city, dozens of éirígí activists travelled to Armagh to voice their opposition to British rule in Ireland and attempts to normalise it.

éirígí demonstration against British Royal visit

A peaceful protest was mounted as part of the party’s campaign for a British withdrawal and to highlight the absurdity of the notion that relations between the British state and the people of Ireland are amiable and ‘normalised’.

Many activists attempting to enter the city to take part in the protest were subjected to acts of intimidation, delays, diversions and searches by heavily armed members of the Crown Forces. Attempts by the British establishment and the RUC-PSNI to create an image of universal acceptance of the visit were significantly marred by the éirígí presence.

eirígí activists mingled with supportive passers by and distributed leaflets in Irish Street before making their way to Market Square to mount the main protest despite being followed throughout by a massive contingent of paramilitary police officers.

Gibraltar 3 - Murdered for Queen and Country

Demonstrators met with an RUC-PSNI roadblock en route and were not permitted further access to the city because of the presence of the foreign monarch. Leaflets were distributed and passers by shouted messages of support for the initiative, particularly in the face of the colossal counter protest operation mounted by Britain’s state forces.

eirígí chairperson Brian Leeson, who was on the streets in Armagh, outlined the reasons for the protest and the context in which it was called.

“It is ironic that, in order to promote their policy of ‘normalisation’, the British government today suspended normal life for the residents of Armagh. Clearly the British government's definition of normality and the how the rest of us would define normal life are two different things.

“We were in Armagh today to make a stand on behalf of all of those people whose voices have been drowned out in the cynical furore surrounding this visit,” Brian said.

éirígí demonstration against British Royal visit

“We, like many other republicans, socialists and democrats in Ireland, are abhorred by the concept of such a visit and the message it seeks to portray. This visit by the chief representative of the British monarchy, military and government is unacceptable. That same British government claims illegal jurisdiction over six Irish counties and 1.8 million Irish citizens, and today added insult to the injury of continued denial of Irish sovereignty and democracy.

“The British monarchy represents grossly unjust economic privilege on the one hand and outright imperialism on the other. Both are an affront to the vast majority of working class people in this country. This visit and the proposed coat trailing exercise in the Twenty-Six Counties are an attempt by the British government to legitimise its ongoing occupation. éirígí has no intention of letting that policy be implemented unopposed - there can be no ‘normalisation’ of British – Irish relations until there is a complete British withdrawal from Irish national affairs.

The face of Normalisation

The tools of Normalisation

“It was patently clear today how abnormal a society we live in, when our party, engaging in a peaceful protest, as is our democratic right, was met with a massive paramilitary display and hundreds of RUC-PSNI agents attempting to thwart the protest. The militaristic nature of the state was plain for all to see on the streets of Armagh today, and continues to expose the reality of British rule in Ireland.

“We will continue in the coming weeks and months to voice our opposition to the ongoing process of normalising British rule. We are calling on all progressives in Ireland to follow suit and become involved in the campaign for British withdrawal and, while the occupation continues, oppose any propaganda stunts in Ireland by the representatives of the British military.”

éirígí demonstration against British Royal visit

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