éirígí have announced the details of their latest public protest in opposition to the proposed state visit of the Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s armed forces to the Twenty-Six Counties.
The socialist republican party are inviting people to demonstrate their opposition to this latest attempt to ‘normalise’ Britain’s interference in Irish affairs by joining the protest, at 2.30pm on Saturday, February 23 at the gates of the British embassy in Dublin.
The British embassy protest is the latest in a series of such events with the most recent one being a well-attended demonstration at Bertie Ahern’s constituency office in Dublin on January 5.
On that occasion, Ahern refused to leave the building because of the protest, despite the best intentions of the large amounts of uniformed and Special Branch Gardaí who were in attendance.
éirígí’s campaign to prevent Elizabeth Windsor, who masquerades as the ‘Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, making a state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties was launched in response to comments made by Mary McAleese in June of last year when she stated that a visit to the southern state by the head of the British Army could “happen sooner then people think”.
McAleese’s remarks were supported by Bertie Ahern in Decmeber 2007 when he said in an RTÉ interview that an official state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties by Windsor was “inevitable” and stated that an invite would probably be extended once “outstanding security issues” had been resolved in the Six Counties.
In the interview, Ahern made no mention of the ongoing British occupation of the Six Counties and the military presence that that entails.
There is a long and proud history of protest at the British embassy in Dublin. In the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, enraged citizens burned the embassy building, which was then located on Merrion Square, to the ground. At the height of the 1981 hunger strike, An Garda Síochána shamed themselves when they launched a vicious attack on a peaceful demonstration that was making its way to the embassy, which had by then been re-located to its current location in Ballsbridge.
Speaking in advance of the protest, éirígí’s Daithí Mac an Mháistír said the party’s approach to the issue is two pronged.
“Firstly, we intend to make it clear to the Twenty-Six County establishment that their kow-towing to the English royal family and all they represent is unacceptable. Elizabeth Windsor is the commander-in-chief of a foreign army of occupation and, as a result, she should not receive an invitation from anybody who claims to represent the Irish people until that occupation is ended.
“Secondly, the British government should be left in no doubt that, despite the pronouncements of Bertie Ahern, the British army are not wanted or welcome in this country. To welcome the head of that army, which has such an appalling record of human rights abuses in Ireland, would be nothing short of a gross insult to the victims and the families of the victims of that abuse.
Daithí continued: “This is the context in which the British embassy protest has been called. It will be a very clear statement that Britain’s border in Ireland and all the military and civil apparatus of its Irish occupation must be dismantled. That is the only basis on which normal relations between Ireland and the British state can be built.
“Until then, any talk of ‘normality’ in Ireland is simply code for the suppression of democracy without resistance.
“We are appealing to as many people as possible to make their way to Ballsbridge on February 23. Make it loud, make it colourful and make it clear to Windsor’s representatives in Dublin that, until their forces of occupation get out of this country, their head of state can stay out.”
The No British Royal Visit protest will take place at the British embassy on Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin at 2.30pm on Saturday, February 23.
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