Belfast IRSP Internment Anniversary Statement

On this date forty years ago British troops had begun the first mass arrests of internment. Working-class people from Republican areas were trailed from their homes without a shred of evidence against them, many were physically and psychologically tortured in British interrogation and torture centres. The British government indulged in barbarity towards ordinary Irish working-class people that matcheded the horrors and inhumanity of their American imperialist allies in Abu Ghraib many years later. Arbitrary arrest, brutality, removal of ‘due process’ and riding roughshod over basic human rights, such as habeas corpus has always been imperialism’s modus operandi in Ireland when faced with even the most mild resistance. The Stormont regime of the day in 1971 welcomed the internment of those suspected of ‘dissenting’ from the status quo.

Fast forward 40 years later to 2011 and the British administration are still using internment as a weapon against Republicans who struggle against imperialism. It may be on a smaller, quieter, more selective scale but the British administration are still interning those who ‘dissent’ from the status quo. Marion Price and Martin Corry can confirm this by their very presence in Maghaberry Gaol! Brendan Lillis, a gravely ill ex-Blanketman who up until today was held without anything resembling the proper medical treatment is tragic living proof that the 1971 Stormont regime do not hold the monopoly on inhumanity. Irrespective of today’s developments, Mr Lillis is still imprisoned without trial on the basis of his past involvement in the struggle for national liberation.

All freedom-loving people condemned the British government’s policy of internment without trial 40 years ago and it’s cheerleaders in Faulkner’s Stormont regime. Irish Republican Socialists in 2011 just as stridently condemn the current British policy of selective internment which carries the rubber-stamp of the present Stormont regime. Rounding up and holding those suspected of ‘dissent’ was wrong in 1971 and it is wrong now! Progressives, Republicans and Socialists should condemn internment in 2011 just as loudly as they did 40 years ago.

End internment in 2011!