The Irish Republican Socialist Party strongly condemns the arrest, assault and verbal abuse of its activists by British police while they were returning from a protest at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, in the early hours of Monday morning. Members of the IRSP, and its youth wing the RSYM, travelled to Birmingham with trade unionists, community activists and their fellow workers to protest against the proposed £2billion pounds worth of public sector cuts being imposed on the North of Ireland by the UK government. When returning from the protest, IRSP member Michael McLaughlin was arrested and assaulted by British police as he was boarding the ferry home. Two young members of the RSYM were also harassed and verbally abused by the Police for speaking Irish when answering questions.
Mr. McLaughlin said: “I was arrested under the prevention of Terrorism Act which is a disgrace, does the British state and its judiciary now class attending protests to oppose vindictive Tory Party cuts as terrorism? This is just another case of the establishment using unjust and draconian legislation to harass Irish republicans.”
He continued: “The harassment of members of our youth wing was particularly disgraceful. The cuts that are going to be put in place by the UK government and implemented through Stormont are going to have a terrible effect on young people, there is no doubt that unemployment will rise because of it. It is outrageous that young people who wish to show their opposition to these prospective cuts are facing such intimidation. The harassment of these young people is simply unjustifiable. Having spoken to those involved, all this incident has done is make them more determined to continue their work. They deserve great credit.”