On the 12th July 2010 Ardoyne Residents and their supporters took part in a peaceful sitdown protest in order to prevent the Orange Order from once again trampling on their right to live free from sectarian intimidation and sectarian harassment, a right enshrined in legislation including the Good Friday Agreement, by marching through Ardoyne. This was permitted by the discredited Parades Commission and facilitated by the PSNI and British Army. The protest was purely peaceful and the protestors were exercising their right to peaceful protest under the European Convention on Human Rights. This method of protest has been successful in the past in a number of other communities where Loyal Orders have attempted to assert their dominance over Catholic/Nationalist/Republican residents. Most of those on the protest where physically assaulted and trailed from the road by heavily armed PSNI officers.
Following on from the Peaceful Protest almost 40 people have since been charged with “Illegal obstruction of a Legal Procession” and will their trial will begin on Monday 31st October. This is in stark contrast to the attitude of the PSNI and PPS when it came to illegal loyalist blockades of Twaddell/Woodvale and Crumlin Road at Hesketh Road prior to the Residents’ protest on 12th July 2010, the UVF led blockade of Asda to have a sectarian killer reinstated to work there after harassing Catholic members of staff, the blockade of Twaddell/Woodvale and Crumlin Road on the night prior to the Tour of the North in June 2011 and of course their blockades on the 11th and 12th of July 2011. We have also yet to see any prosecutions of Loyal Order members and followers who continually insist on breaking the conditions set upon them when the Parades Commission makes the shambolic decision to permit them to march through Ardoyne. These include exceeding the number of followers, playing music, unauthorised banners, bannerettes in remembrance of sectarian killers who murdered members of our community and the display of paramilitary flags and emblems.
In response to this we would like to invite all those who disagree with the decision by the PSNI and PPS to prosecute Peaceful Protestors and Residents of Ardoyne to attend a Rally and Protest in Support of those on trial at 9.30am on Monday 31st October, in advance of their trial starting that morning. This will again be a Peaceful Protest and all those with an interest in defending the rights of people to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation are welcome.
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