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West Belfast picket in support of Stephen Murney

12/02/13

At least 100 people took part in a successful white line picket along Divis Street, Belfast, on Saturday afternoon (February 9) in support of imprisoned éirígí party member Stephen Murney, who has been held in Maghaberry gaol since November last year.

Picket for Stephen Murney

Organised by éirígí, the protest drew the participation of political activists, and former Long Kesh and Armagh Gaol prisoners. Also taking part were éirígí’s Dublin councillor Louise Minihan and two independent councillors, Angela Nelson and Davy Hyland.

The protest lasted for over an hour. During that time, it attracted the attention of many tourists and visitors at the well-known murals along ‘the International Wall’ who inquired about the reasons for the protest and who expressed surprised and shock when they learned that republicans are still being arrested and held in gaol on very spurious charges.

Picket for Stephen Murney

Many local people travelling in and out of west Belfast on their way towards and from the city centre also expressed their support.

Throughout the duration of the protest, PSNI vehicles continually drove past taking photos and noting names of those taking part. This surveillance and intelligence gathering operation by the Six County state police was clearly visible to many passers-by who openly commented on the PSNI’s actions. Many of them contrasted the PSNI’s ‘in your face’ attitude towards the west Belfast protest with the willingness of that same force in openly assisting and sustaining loyalist demonstrations that very same afternoon in other parts of Belfast.

Picket for Stephen Murney

At the end of the protest, éirígí’s Pádraic Mac Coitir addressed the crowd. Mac Coitir had visited Stephen Murney in Maghaberry prison just a few days before and spoke about Stephen’s high level of morale. Mac Coitir also urged everyone to keep up their work to secure Stephen’s release.

 

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