The nationalist residents of Ard Eoghain threw down the gauntlet to the Orange Order, the PSNI and the Six County Parades Commission yesterday [Monday] when they staged a dignified peaceful protest against the annual sectarian antics which they are expected to endure.
As yesterday’s unwanted Orange march approached the Ardoyne shops, around 200 residents and supporters, including a number of éirígí activists, took to the road and staged a sit-down protest. It took dozens of riot clad, baton wielding PSNI officers nearly five hours to drag the determined peaceful protestors from the path of the sectarian march, injuring many in the process.
The PSNI only managed to hem the residents back into Ardoyne at around 9 o’clock by firing dozens of plastic bullets, baton charging protestors and turning water canon on women and children. A number of people were injured by baton rounds.
Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “The residents of Ardoyne should be commended for the disciplined, dignified manner in which they objected to yesterday’s sectarian coat-trailing session.
“The people of Ardoyne, like people everywhere, have fundamental human rights. One of these rights is to be able to live free from the threat of sectarian harassment. When this right is taken from them, as it is annually by the Orange Order and the PSNI, they have a right to resist. Yesterday’s sit-down protest was a commendable example of resistance.
“The Six County Parades Commission now needs to realise that the residents of Ardoyne will not meekly accept being walked over by triumphalist bigots, nor should they be expected to. The only just resolution to this problem is accepting the right of Ardoyne residents to a life free from sectarian intimidation and banning the Orange Order march from the area.”
Responding to the firing of over 70 plastic bullets by the PSNI, Mac Cionnaith said: “The PSNI has proven yet again that it is a sectarian militia that will use any means necessary to enforce the writ of the Orange state in nationalist communities.
“Plastic bullets are a lethal weapon – they maim and kill innocent people. Those nationalist parties who claim to oppose the use of these weapons should withdraw their support from the PSNI immediately.”