Thursday, 30 June 2011

GARC's Analysis of Unwelcome Parades Through Greater Ardoyne - 2011

Over the past few months, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) have been involved in intensive meetings involving the Catholic Church, CARA, the Parades Commission, the SDLP and a number of other Youth, Community and Political groups. To give our analysis of yearly unwelcome Loyal Order parades through the greater Ardoyne community and the equally unwelcome violence and destruction which they leave in their wake.
GARC accept that the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community have a legitimate right to express their religion, culture, heritage and allegiance to Britain. We do not wish to hinder those rights, however, parades should take place were they are welcome and this is clearly not the case on this stretch of the Crumlin Road.

When such parades are permitted our entire community is besieged by the full might of the imbalanced, riot-clad PSNI to ensure passage through our area by whatever means necessary. The Parades Commission's ignorance of our community's rights can only be quantified that we are looked upon as the lesser of two evils and as such, second-class citizens in our own country. Therefore, GARC ask where indeed is our rights to live free from sectarian fear and intimidation.
GARC believe that morning parades are equally contentious as the evening parades. A proposal for a possible solution re: restrictions/banning upon all marches and equally any offense caused to the greater Ardoyne could be averted by the development of the alternative route into a Grade A thoroughfare (this project could be financed by the wasted billions of taxpayers money used in past and future Policing operations) which would greatly benefit the working-class of both communities. That link two Loyalist/Unionist areas at Harmony Bridge. Where the Loyal Orders could parade in excess of normal parading dates without any objections from the Catholic/Nationalist and Republican community.

Our Collective call upon all opponents of sectarian parades through Ardoyne to take follow our lead and register their opposition by their presence. However, we stress this MUST be in a calm, dignified and peaceful manner. These unwelcome marches NEED to seen for what they truly are and NOT distracted by acts of violence.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


 Earlier this week, Unionists including members of the Orange Order, Loyalist Paramilitaries and Twaddell/Woodvale residents blocked the Woodvale and Twaddell Avenue for two successive nights. The large crowds ensured that access to two major roads was prevented and the RUC/PSNI facilitated these protests. 

The reason for holding these protests were that the Parades Commission had banned the annual 'Tour of the North' feeder parades from walking the Upper Crumlin Road through the Greater Ardoyne area. As these marches regularly cause increased community tensions and riots. After the feeder parade finished, a senior Orangeman handed the RUC/PSNI a letter of protest before the whole debacle ended in serious stone throwing and a mini riot. According to the PSNI, a number of it's members were injured during the disturbances.

Unsurprisingly for Greater Ardoyne residents, no plastic bullets at the Loyalist rioters. No water cannon was deployed against these crowds engaged in widespread rioting. To date, no one has been charged in connection with blocking the roads. Whereas last July, scores of Nationalist protesters were immediately arrested and appeared in Court charged with unlawfully blocking a major road.

Soon after these arrests, serious rioting broke out in the area by Nationalists who became inflamed by the huge military-style curfew imposed on the Greater Ardoyne area to facilitate an Orange march. Nearly 100 lethal plastic bullets were fired at local people. Some four water cannons were also used and dozens of RUC/PSNI members were injured by rioters.

The 'Policing' operation for the day cost the taxpayer over £2.2 million and the ensuing riots went down in history as a serious problem for a peaceful future. GARC had warned everyone that if the 12th Parade was permitted to proceed along the Crumlin Road, violence was inevitable. However, these warnings were ignored by the powers in Stormont who pushed ahead with their plans to force another unwelcome sectarian march through Ardoyne.

Now, we have again witnessed partial political policing which marred decades of the RUC's history. Wherby, the Nationalist community were treated as second-class citizens in a British State. Where the British Police constantly mistreated Nationalists and used peaceful resistance against Apartheid rule as subversive and to be crushed at all costs.

The recent Woodvale Riots and the kid-gloves approach to the Protestant/Unionist and Loyalist community demonstrates in clear terms that like the RUC. The PSNI refuses to deal with lawbreakers within that community. Which again proves that they are unreformable and will continue to be partial to British citizens in the Occupied Six Counties.

GARC call upon the new Parades Commission not to be intimidated by Unionist violence and when it debates this year's 12th parade through Greater Ardoyne it MUST rule in favour of local residents who want to be left in peace without enduring unwelcome marches, military-style curfews, plastic bullets and serious rioting! If there is NO PARADE, there will be NO VIOLENCE!