Once again hundreds of people were mobilised in solidarity with Republican POWs incarcerated in Maghaberry. Several carloads of Republicans and Ex-POWs from Newry made the journey yesterday.
The protesters lined up behind a flute band and marched from the visitors car park right up to the main prison gate. There were then several minutes of noise and mayhem as protesters blew whistles, banged bin lids, beat drums, played flutes, let of fireworks, blasted airhorns, chanted shouted and cheered so that the POWs could hear us.
Loud cheers and chants of "What do we want?" "Political status", "When do we want it? "Now" and "Victory to the POWs" ,in what was reminiscent of the H Block and Blanket protest era, could be heard loud and clear.
Several people spoke including the families of the POWs and a statement on behalf of the POWs was read out by recently released POW Terry McCafferty.
The protesters then lined up once more and marched along the perimeter fence making more noise, it was heartening when we could hear the POWs inside cheering and banging their cell doors in response. Despite being confronted by riot clad scumbags with guard dogs the protesters remained undeterred.
These men are locked up for 23 hours a day, they don't get washed every day, they haven't shaved in over 7 weeks, they get assaulted and beaten on a regular basis, they endure degrading stripsearches, the water and heating has been switched off, their cells are soaked with urine. For anyone living in such conditions is unimaginable, yet this is happening in 2010 in occupied Ireland.
Harry Fitzsimmons is still lying chained to a bed in his underwear, and is still in a serious condition after suffering a severe beating from the screws, i would guess that Harry and his fellow comrades were given a much needed boost of morale yesterday when they heard us outside.
The POWs have since sent word out that they could hear us loud and clear, and it was indeed a great lift for them.
One thing that's very noticeable is that these protests are getting bigger every time.
More protests and events are being organised to highlight the situation in Maghaberry. So watch this space!!!!