Sunday December 17 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 the serious humanitarian situation with the gaol.
Republican ballads could be heard the length of Monaghan St as the participants, including many young people along with ex-POWs, lined the road with flags, banners and placards detailing various injustices such as strip searching & controlled movement.
Local elected representatives, some of whom were once incarcerated themselves, were notable by their absence despite the event being widely publicised. All who want to see the abolition of this inhumane regime at Maghaberry have a responsibility to speak out on this issue regardless of their political beliefs.
Sarah Murphy read a detailed and harrowing account of what an average day for a republican prisoner entails 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.
The notoriously sectarian and thuggish Prison Officers Association is currently setting the agenda in Maghaberry. This situation can no longer be allowed to continue.
The British government needs to recognise that the August 12 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 publically 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.
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.
Victory to the Republican Prisoners