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!