‘Olympic Torch visit was cynical attempt by British to normalise presence in Ireland’ – Republican Sinn Fein
Republican Sinn Fein has told Newry Times that a protest held outside Pairc Esler on the night of the Olympic Torch visit was to “highlight the torture and ill treatment of political prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry Gaol and in Hydebank Women’s prison”.
A spokesman for the group said, “A protest against the torture and ill treatment of political prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry Gaol and in Hydebank Women’s prison took place on Tuesday 5th June 2012 at the GAA grounds in Newry, another blemish on the reputation of the Down county board who have proved to be supporters of the British occupation in Ireland; only last year Down was one of the only counties in Ulster to meet with, and welcome the Queen of England to Ireland.”
Speaking about why the protest took place at that specific time, the spokesman insisted it was called to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic torch from London as part of its journey around the UK. “The decidedly peaceful protest facilitated by Republican Sinn Féin was well attended with more than 70 supporters who braved the inclement weather.
“RSF do not recognise that any area of Ireland is part of the UK. The Olympic torch, which was carried in the name of sport, is nothing more than a cynical attempt by the British establishment to normalise their presence in our country.”
“As a symbol of protest against the British Olympic torch republicans lit their own torches of freedom as a symbolic gesture. Whilst there is no objection to the Olympics per se, it is the host nation and their human rights record in Ireland with which Republicans take issue. The assembled crowd carried banners and placards calling for the restoration of Political status to republican prisoners currently incarcerated in Maghaberry and Hydebank.
“Currently POWs find themselves living in squalid conditions and having their human rights contravened with forced strip searching and controlled movement within the gaols, they have been forced on to a no wash protest as a result to the Prison authorities reneging on the August agreement of 2010.”
The spokesman continued, “Martin Corey is currently being held in Maghaberry without charge or trial, he has previously served 19 years after being sentenced to 17years, 2 years ago his licence was ‘revoked’. Martin refused to sign a licence for his release after 17 years and was subsequently held for a further 2 years, so to say his licence has been revoked is a misnomer. Well known republican activist Marian Price is also suffering internment and at present is seriously ill.”
“It is most disturbing that a delegation of doctors from the United Nations have been refused permission to see her, this coupled with the torture endured by the rest of the prisoners needs to become a matter of urgent public attention and concern. Republican Sinn Féin call on all Republicans and those concerned with Human rights to unite and support the POWs,” the spokesman added.
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