Below we carry a statement from the organising committee of the “Truth and Justice – not Jubilation” demonstration taking place in Belfast on June 23 against the visit of Elizabeth Windsor, Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s armed forces.
Truth and Justice – not Jubilation
March and rally planned for Belfast as Royal visit approaches
A demonstration is to be held in Belfast just days before the British royal visit to the North. The demonstration on Saturday 23rd June will have as its theme “Truth and Justice – not Jubilation” and the organisers say the focus of the protest will be on victims of British state violence.
The demonstration will take the form of a silent march, led by a solitary piper, from Dunville Park, Falls Road, at 2.00pm on Saturday and conclude with a rally outside Belfast city hall. The rally will be addressed by speakers from each of the 6 Counties who lost close relatives at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence.
The organisers believe the event provides a unique opportunity for everyone within the broad nationalist community, those with differing political opinions and those with none, along with other progressives, to stand shoulder to shoulder in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity with victims’ families of British state violence in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.
Announcing the planned demonstration, the organising committee stated, “The forthcoming British royal visit to the North presents a very unique opportunity to publicly highlight the fact that many hundreds of people, of all ages, met their deaths at the hands of British Crown forces and their agents in Ireland during the course of the present British monarch’s reign. Many, many more were injured or endured physical and psychological abuse by those same forces.
“Countless families across Ireland still live with the painful reality of the tragedies, distress and anguish brought to their homes by those forces of which the British monarch is Commander-in Chief.
“During her reign, British forces who have taken oaths of loyalty to Elizabeth Windsor have:
- Implemented internment without trial and perpetrated mass murder against civilian protestors objecting to such human rights abuses
- Tortured, abused and unlawfully detained Irish citizens
- Murdered many innocent unarmed civilians
- Murdered innocent school-children with both lead and plastic bullets
- In conjunction with unionist death squads which Britain trained and armed, conducted a prolonged campaign of murder against men, women and children of all ages from within the nationalist community
- Continued to conceal and obstruct the truth about Britain’s role in the murders of many hundreds of Irish people
- Used the most draconian and repressive laws found anywhere in modern Europe
“Having held discussions with a cross-section of families from different parts of the North in recent weeks, it was clear that those families firmly believe that their loss and pain is far too often ignored or brushed aside by the British state and by the mainstream media.
“In many cases, the families of those who died at the hands of Britain’s Crown forces still find that, decades after the murders of their loved ones, the British state continues to obstruct their quest for truth and justice.
“Those families not are aware of any cause for jubilation.
“The families with whom we held discussions indicated that they would welcome and support a public demonstration highlighting the fact that the British state, of which the monarch is head, continues to wash its hands of the many crimes and injustices which it perpetrated in Ireland.
“Saturday’s demonstration will be completely non-party political and will welcome the participation of nationalists from all shades of political opinion and those with none. All we ask is that the focus and the emphasis is placed solely on the injustices still endured by victims of British state violence.
“We ask people to assemble at Dunville Park on the Falls Road at 2.00pm on Saturday 23rd June for a silent and dignified march, led by a lone piper, ending with a rally outside Belfast city Hall.
“All speakers at the rally will be persons who lost a close relative at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence. The speakers come from each of the Six Counties, together with others from the two main cities, Belfast and Derry. They will be joined by a person representing those victims of British state violence which, it must never be forgotten, also extended into the South of Ireland.
“We are also publicly asking families across the country that lost loved ones at the hands of the British state and its agents to attend and to carry with them images of their murdered relatives.
“There will no bands at the demonstration, and no party political banners will be allowed. We simply ask all those attending to bring and carry black flags.
“This is a unique opportunity for nationalists, republicans, socialists and other progressives from across the Six Counties and beyond to show their support for all families of victims of British state violence, and to demonstrate their disdain and contempt for those who continue to perpetuate ongoing injustices and discrimination those same families still face.
“The British state might wish that people would simply forget about the deaths, violence and trauma that its forces and agents wreaked across communities throughout Ireland.
“We are saying to everyone within the broad nationalist community that they also have a choice – abide by Britain’s wishes, or stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours and their friends in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity for the families of Britain’s victims, in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.”