Another protest in Belfast — how very Northern Irish. Whether it’s a protest against government cuts, fighting for abortion legislation, the killing of a police officer, we do love a good protest — but despite what some say, such gatherings are vital. Sure, creating hashtags on Twitter, shouting about how awful it is on Facebook, and creating memes are a large part of what it is to show disapproval, physically rallying in the centre of town shows that the people are serious about taking a stand. Armchair activism is vital for getting movements off the ground, but it needs to be taken to the streets.
Today I am proud to be from Belfast. Over 1,000 people gathered at the City Hall for an hour. Then at 11.55 whistles, horns and drums came out. Screams could be heard all around and the clapping was contagious. The atmosphere was electric. There was no tension in the air. Everyone was happy to be out. If anything, it made us simply feel better about the people who live here. As one placard said: “It’s a piece of land, and we all have to live on it.”
This was a non-political event. Organised on the ground by a very small number of individuals, which rapidly spread over the course of just a few days, this is the way in which our society will continue to move forward. This is about more than a flag, this is about informing the small, violent, minorities that we do not want violence. The very fact that many did not turn up today due to fears for their (and their childrens’) safety from a counter-protest, is a sad fact in itself. However, today was peaceful, and we can only hope that tomorrow will be peaceful.
The next step is ensuring that the positive attitude that everyone went away with can be shown in the party policies, that our government leaders can lead us away from violence. That the fight for peace can resonate in the minds of those who continue to disrupt the peace. Whatever the outcome, we came together and showed our support. For peace. For no violence.
I won’t apologise. I will constantly tweet about #BelfastPeaceRally. I don’t my kids growing up with the shit I did. Sunday 11am City Hall
This morning tens of thousands of people from various trade unions marched against cuts in London, Glasgow and Belfast. More than 1,000 people made their way through Belfast city centre with a number of trade unions, political parties and other groups in the march organised by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which represents more than 250,000 members in 36 trade unions across Northern Ireland. Beginning at the Art College grounds, the march finished at Custom House Square.
The trade unions and political groups involved are fighting against public service cuts, welfare reform and austerity: as well as a demand that the banks and bankers are held to account for the resulting economic crash.
Any ordinary citizen who feels that attending a mass rally is not the best thing to do in order to show your anger at recent acts of violence needs to be set straight. Several thousand people gathered today at Belfast City Hall to show solidarity and to pay their respects to 25-year-old Pc Ronan Kerr was buried this morning in Co. Tyrone.
Attending such a rally shows that this is not wanted. It was a brilliant turn out, and over the last few days many people have joined in unity to fight this behaviour. Physically showing disapproval is a stronger statement than any other and I feel a strong statement has been made by many today.
Here’s a short video I shot of the minute silence which took place:
The funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr will be held on Wednesday at 12. The ceremony will take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, with burial in Drumduff cemetery. It is expected that many politicians will be present, including First Minister Peter Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
A large rally in anti-violence rally has been organised for 1pm Wednesday at the City Hall by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said: “The murder of Police Officer Ronan Kerr in Omagh was an attack on a brave public servant and therefore an attack on every worker who serves the community and works towards a better future.”
Following the brutal murder of Constable Ronan Kerr, Congress will be providing an opportunity for Trade Union members and the greater public to assemble at Belfast City Hall, at 1pm on Wednesday 6th April, to show our abhorrence of the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr.
At this event a short statement will be read by the Vice Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee and no other Speeches will take place. The event will finish at 1.15pm.
We would urge you to encourage as many people as possible to attend this brief event in support of democracy, peace and justice across Northern Ireland
Assistant General Secretary
Everyone should be there to show their solidarity, support of peace and campaign against violence. This is the next step from the hashtag and twibbon! Join in unity against the bastards who want to drag Northern Ireland down.
This afternoon thousands of people gathered at Belfast’s UU Art College on York Street and marched to the City Hall in protest of UK government spending cuts. Organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the march coincided with a march in Derry, as well as a much larger march in London, where almost half a million people walked the streets and gathered in Hyde park, though trouble sparked when a break-away group targeted shops, banks and hotels, including the Ritz, Topman and BHS using paint, rocks, sticks and fireworks.
The protest in Belfast, however, was without trouble and little police presence.
Only 10 minutes before spotting the Legalise Cannabis Protest we noticed an anti-fur protest outside a prominent fur seller Barnardo Furs (108 Grafton Street, Dublin 2), who are certainly no stranger to protests at this stage, having had locks glued and shutters spray-painted in the past. [video from recent large protest].
Personally, I think its disgraceful that this goes on in Ireland where there are 6 mink farms and at least 1 fox farm in this country, where annually a total of 150,000 animals are killed. I totally support what they are doing here. Fur is murder!
While on our way to Phoenix Park last Saturday we came across a protest march on O’Connell Street in favour of the legalisation of cannabis. The music, shouting, the smell of cannabis and sight of joints behind ears created a very exciting atmosphere.
Yesterday afternoon thousands of people congregated to the City Hall in Belfast is a silent protest against the recent violence and killings here in Northern Ireland.
Organised by trade unions throughout Belfast, many also gathered in Derry, Lisburn, Newry and Downpatrick to show that they don’t want the relative-peace and security in Northern Ireland to break down.
As the silence fell there was a real sense of unity against the shooting of the two soldiers on Saturday and first PSNI officer killed on Monday night.
Whatever has happened to start more killings, we can only hope does not escalate in the way that so many remember [not I], those that know of the worst.
Its fascinating to see such open and public acceptance of the gay, lesbian and bi community in Northern Ireland, so known for its segregation and conflict between communities. The streets of the City centre were lined with spectators who screamed, applauded and yelled as the parade and its participants walked along the route from Custom House Square around the City Hall and back to the Square where there was a stage and “gay” music (I can’t stand ABBA) and a lot of people.
There were thousands of people from all around showing their support and generally having a great time. This years parade was also so much bigger than last year. Many were also protesting the recent remarks from Strangford MP, Iris Robinson, who stated on an interview on the Stephen Nolan show that “I’m happy to put any homosexual in touch with [psychiatrist] and I have met people who have turned around and become heterosexuals.”
Of course there were also plenty of religious protesters with their banners, bibles and words of anger. Surely its harder to get angry about something if you just stay at home and mind your own business?