Friday, 11 February 2011

Jackson and Mac Coitir Charged Over Sit-Down Protest

éirígí local election candidate for Belfast’s Upper Falls ward Pádraic Mac Coitir has been charged in relation to his role in a peaceful protest against an Orange Order march in Ardoyne last July.
Mac Coitir, a republican ex-prisoner and resident of the Lenadoon area of west Belfast, took part in last year’s peaceful protest against the annual Orange Order incursion on July 12 in response to a call for support from local residents.

Leas-chathaoirleach éirígí Rab Jackson and dozens more community activists have also been charged in relation to the sit-down protest.

They will appear in court on March 3 charged with “obstructing traffic or hindering lawful activity” under Section 20 of the British government’s Public Order Act. In addition, Jackson is charged with “resisting a constable in the execution of his duty”.

It took the PSNI several hours on July 12 last year to drag scores of Ardoyne residents and their supporters from the path of the Orange Order march that annually encroaches on the nationalist community with the permission of the Six County Parades Commission.

Several people were injured when the PSNI opened fire with plastic bullets and began batoning peaceful protestors.

Mac Coitir said: “For many years, I have supported the right of vulnerable nationalist communities to live free from the threat of sectarian harassment, that is the context in which I took part in last year’s peaceful protest.

“The right to live free from that form of harassment is enshrined in European law and is allegedly enshrined in law in the Six Counties. Yet, every year, the people of Ardoyne are denied that right in order to allow a mob of sectarian bully boys a day of unbridled bigotry at their expense.

“Like the people of the Garvaghy Road and the Lower Ormeau, the community in Ardoyne deserves to be left in peace. I will always support this demand and I am confident that the people of West Belfast and the Upper Falls will always support this demand.”

Rab Jackson said: “There is no reason for the Orange Order to be marching past the Ardoyne Shops except to get the message across that croppies should lie down. That a sectarian, supremacist organisation is allowed to pull this stunt, not just in Ardoyne but in areas across the Six Counties, every year is an indication of the rotten nature of the northern state.

“As long as there are bigoted institutions seeking to trample upon their rights, nationalists will have the right to organise in defence of their communities.”

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