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Oppose Plastic Bullets and Twenty-Eight Day Detention

21/07/09

InternmentOn August 9 1971, internment without trial was introduced in the occupied Six Counties. Within hours hundreds of republicans were being rounded up in dawn raids. For some of those detainees it would be years before they would be released from British custody. That introduction of internment marked a dramatic escalation in the conflict that was then raging across the Six Counties. Within less then five years, in December 1975, internment ended – in complete failure.

In 2009, Britain has reintroduced internment without trial to Ireland, in the form of twenty-eight day detention periods. Irish citizens can now be held by the occupation forces for up to four weeks without being charged or convicted. Earlier this year republicans were detained for the first time using this draconian legislation.

If further evidence was needed of the true nature of Britain’s role in Ireland the behaviour of the paramilitary PSNI on July 13, 2009 provides it. As residents of the Ardoyne district of North Belfast gathered on that date to peacefully protest against an unwanted sectarian march, they were met by hundreds of PSNI members in full riot gear. Within hours the PSNI were indiscriminately firing plastic bullets, injuring ten people.

Plastic and rubber bullets have already killed seventeen people in Ireland. The use of such lethal weapons for ‘crowd control’ purposes has long been condemned by all right-thinking people across Ireland and beyond.

On August 8, éirígí will be holding demonstrations at the British Embassy in Dublin and at Enniskillen PSNI Barracks to mark the introduction of internment in 1971 and to oppose both 28-day detention and the use of plastic bullets.

On the following day, there will be a public meeting on Belfast’s Falls Road, focusing on the introduction of internment in August 1971 and the contemporary use of repressive legislation by the British government. Speakers will include former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ruhal Ahmed, former Long Kesh internee and H-Block escaper Gerry McDonnell and human rights lawyer Pádraigín Drinan, who represented the hooded men. The meeting will start at 3pm on Sunday, August 9 in the Conway Education Centre, Conway Mill, Falls Road, Belfast.

Speaking in advance of the Dublin protest éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said, “Over the course of the last twelve months there has been a dramatic escalation in British operations in Ireland. We have seen the British Army redeployed in the form of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, twenty-eight day detention introduced, peaceful protests forcibly suppressed, and most recently we have seen plastic bullets being fired once again. In addition there has been a noticeable upsurge in harassment and attempts to recruit informers.

“Our protest on August 8 will give people in Dublin an opportunity to show their opposition to the ongoing occupation in general and twenty-eight day detention and plastic bullet use in particular. I would encourage everyone who supports Irish freedom to come along to the protest and make their voice heard.”

  • Protest: PSNI Barracks, Enniskillen, Saturday August 8, 12pm
  • Protest: British Embassy, Dublin, Saturday August 8, 2pm
  • Public meeting: Conway Mill, Belfast, Sunday August 9, 3pm

 

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