Easter Commemoration Violence- Political Policing the key factor
The scenes witnessed on Saturday in Lurgan were condemned by the IRSP on Sunday. At our Easter Commemoration in Milltown the criminal assault by the PSNI against a legitimate republican commemoration was highlighed and emphasis put on the fact that every legitimate republican organisation has the right to honour Ireland’s patriot dead in whatever way they see fit.
On Easter Monday, an inevitable outbreak of violence occurred in Derry as republican youths attacked the PSNI as they attempted once again to move in and arrest a republican colour party that was entering the city cemetery to hold a dignified and respectful commemoration.
This all stems from certain republican groups not wanting to neither apply to the Parades Commission nor comply with their determinations, (not covering faces, not wearing military attire etc).
While the violence on Monday was widespread condemned by mainstream political parties and commentators a fundamental issue needs addressed regarding the MI5 directed PSNI conduct against Irish Republican Easter commemorations.
The IRSP Easter commemoration in Belfast on Sunday was applied through the parades commission and through this it accepted their code of conduct. With this in mind the PSNI conducted an extensive surveillance operation against the parade and its participants. A large camera mounted on an armoured land rover followed the parade throughout its route and this was accompanied by dozens of PSNI officers with cameras taking photos of the parade at every turn. A PSNI helicopter also hovered above the parade for the entire length of its journey.
While Sinn Fein’s Northern leader Michelle O’Neill was quick to condemn violence in Derry on Monday, their parade that quickly followed the IRSP parade on Sunday in Belfast received no PSNI surveillance, the mounted cameras and helicopter quickly vanished. Both parades complied with the parades commission and their code of conduct so an excuse cannot be made by the PSNI that they were there to monitor and to ensure the determinations and code of conduct were being followed. This surveillance was nothing but political motivated policing.
Participants of these commemorations have the right to respectfully remember our patriot dead. These parades do not pass by any ‘interfaces’ or ‘flash-points’ and are carried out in areas that have widespread support. With this in mind there is of no wonder that certain parades and their participants won’t apply to the parades commission or show their faces knowing they are being heavily photographed by the police for taking part, hypocritically most the of the PSNI officers who had cameras were covered themselves by ski-masks. Over the past number of years various IRSP activists who have been arrested and released without charge have had pictures of themselves at these parades being produced by the PSNI as some sort of ‘evidence’, and in some cases the only ‘evidence’ produced against them.
While the IRSP as a revolutionary republican party expect this harassment from the state, it must be asked as to what difference does it make in applying to the parades commission and not? Either way republicans will still be criminalised and harassed through the actions of the PSNI. A fact that is forgotten about by the mainstream political parties.