Crowds gather in Newry to support republican prisoners

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Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

The scene in Monaghan Street last weekend

A republican event last Sunday (17th December) saw upwards of 70 people take to the streets of Newry in a display of solidarity and support for republican prisoners in Maghaberry. The independent event, organised by the Newry/South Armagh Republican Prisoners Support Group, brought all shades of republicans together along with community leaders to highlight what the organisers claim is a “serious humanitarian situation”. Republican ballads could be heard as many young people along with ex-POWs, lined the road with flags, banners and placards detailing various injustices such as strip searching and controlled movement. Sarah Murphy read a detailed and harrowing account of what an average day for a republican prisoner entailed as hundreds of leaflets were handed out to motorists and members of the public. Former republican prisoner, Joe Harper also spoke and pointed out that 30 years after 10 men died on hunger strike, “we have republicans being continually beaten and brutalised while on protest for the same reasons those gallant men gave their lives.” Joe also raised concerns about republicans being once again interned by the establishment for their political beliefs. A spokesman said, “The British government needs to recognise that the August 12th agreement of 2010 presents the basis for resolving the conflict in the prison and face down the POA. It is now more important than ever that the prisoners are accorded their human rights. It is now up to all individuals and organisations to come out publicly and support the prisoners. Like the men of 81, today’s political prisoners will not cooperate with a regime that attempts to rob them of their dignity. Therefore, the struggle for human rights will continue until its successful conclusion.” He added, “At present republican prisoners are locked in their cells, and have no access to basic requirements such as washing facilities, exercise, association, education etc. This is a breach of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights. The Newry/South Armagh republican Prisoners Support Group extends our solidarity to the protesting prisoners in Maghaberry and pledges to continue supporting them until the situation in Maghaberry is resolved. We urge everyone who is opposed to the human rights abuses in Maghaberry to attend any future events which are open to all republicans.”
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