End Prison Torture march in Belfast


"End Prison Torture" echoed on the streets of West Belfast on Saturday in support of republican prisoners in Maghaberry. Despite a provocative security operation hundreds of people and three bands marched from Dunville Park on the Falls Road to Andersonstown to demand the rights and dignity of prisoners to be respected.

For the WSM's position on the North see our position paper and our topic pages on Republicanism andLoyalism.

Several speakers raised the seriousness of the situation and the striking parrallels with the blanket protests 20 years ago and the depravity and brutality still ongoing within the prison system. Former Hungerstriker Tommy McKearney thanked everyone for showing their support and solidarity including communists and anarchists. Referring to the fact that despite a so-called new era and cosmetic changes to the northern state it is ironic and a tragedy that we are still here today struggling for the same rights as human beings.

In front of a packed audience on the previous Thursday, speaker after speaker outlined the current prison conditions, technical issues and the demands of the republican prisoners for full political recognition as part of the full implementation of the August Agreement. The public meeting organised by family and friends of the non-conforming prisoners as part of the Feile included one former prisoner who provided a detailed account of the prison struggle to date including a horrific account of brutality including the forced strip searching by riot clad prison officers.

Roisin Lynch began by pointing out that she is not a member of any political group and thanked everyone for their support in her campaign to release Brendan Lillis on humanitarian grounds, and that prison abuse and neglect is systematic.

Lastly was journalist and activist Eamonn McCann who argued for one campaign and one voice in the campaign and links should be made both at home and globally with wider prisoner abuses and repression. He also highlighted the fact that you can be 100% against armed struggle but 100% for prisoner rights and that anyone who believes in justice and human rights should be behind the campaign. If that means being called a dissident or dissident supporter than so be it!


Some pictures from the march and rally: