This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade…. If any former loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome – Dee Fennell.
THE organisers of an anti-internment parade in Belfast involving republican groups say they are willing to meet Unionists concerned about the event. Two previously unknown groups have applied to the Parades Commission to hold protests when the parade passers through the city centre on August 9.
Unionist politicians have also expressed concerns about the parade. The Anti-Internment League (AIL) says its event has been arranged to highlight the “internment” of some republicans facing paramilitary-related charges. The march is scheduled to take place on August 9 – the 42nd anniversary of the introduction of internment – and will start in Ardoyne, North Belfast, before eventually making its way down Royal Avenue in the city centre. It will pass along Falls Road to Andersontown, in the west of the city, for a rally. Organisations and political parties taking part include Eirgi, the Republican Network for Unity, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the 1916 Societies and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Organisers say human rights groups, trade unions and GAA clubs from across the north have also been invited to take part in the parade which could attract up to 5,000 people.
Greater Concerned Residents Group Belfast and Concerned Residents Group – Shankill Belfast, have applied to the Parades Commission to hold separate protests at Royal Avenue involving up to 150 people at each. Organiser Dee Fennell said the parade will focus on the internment issue and insisted the parade route was chosen to avoid potential flashpoints. “It’s a human rights parade,” he said. “This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade that republicans are taking part in. “We have invited trade unions and ex-prisoner groups, including Sinn Fein aligned ones, to take part. “If any loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome.”
Mr Fennell said there is some confusion over the two groups planning to hold protests. “They are not residents groups because the parade is not passing any Protestant areas and as far as I know nobody lives in Castlecourt,” he said. He added that parade organisers are willing to meet any group or elected representatives that “have any concerns relating to this parade”. DUP assembly member Robin Newton, who had been critical of the planned parade, dismissed any suggestion of a meeting saying some of the “organisations taking part that day will be beyond talking to”. The Parades Commission is expected to issue a determination in relation to the parade and associated protests this week.
With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.
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