When Brand met the Belfast Orange, or why the comedy of new media helps us unlearn…

There’s an interesting conference at the University of Ulster coming up on the 10th December, which seems to be asking some of the right questions about social media, its uses in protest and the implications for democratic politics. The event blurb notes: Over the course of the last twelve months, Northern Ireland has witnessed social media playing a central role in the nature of politics and protests. The period in the wake of the decision by Belfast City Council to … Read more

#Flegs Protest: Blocking the highway is only one way you can be convicted…

For me this was the most straightforward and relevant contribution on last night’s Nolan. Peaceful protest is fine this audience member says, but who is informing the young people who are getting involved about what is and what is not legal. Obstructing the highway has been a focus (because it is probably the most disruptive), but that is not all you can get a criminal record for. Covering your face, acting in an intimidating manner towards others are also grounds … Read more

A Northern Ireland that cannot govern itself will always be brittle and unstable

Okay, Nuala McKeever’s piece for the Belfast Telegraph put me in mind of the paper we pulled together and published ten years this May on, as it happens, the future of unionism: This is not about making unionism more yielding. A ‘long peace’ will not be an easy peace and unionists will often need to be tough in their projection of power. But ‘no’ should never be their final answer. Defensiveness is far too predictable a strategy. A genuinely disruptive … Read more

“…a disruptive loyalist protest outside an empty Leinster House on a busy retail day”

So, now it is the SDLP who are getting it in the neck from the flag protesters. Patsy McGlone (who has said nothing on the matter, so far as Slugger is aware, but who is unfortunate enough to live in a UVF dominant part of the world) has had a bullet in the post. And Claire Hanna has had her house shot up. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed the incident involving East Belfast nationalist politician Claire Hanna … Read more

“Not always possible to align the democratic and the retail calendars…”

First sign of any sort of kick back on the Alliance, the SDLP and Sinn Fein came from President of the Chamber last night, Joe Jordan who criticised the timing of the vote (rather than the vote itself), and the widespread unrest in and now way beyond the city.. It fell to Mairtin O’Muilleoir, a businessman himself and often an overt champion of local business interests on Twitter responded to similar queries on Sunday when he tweeted: @danzer_b agreed but … Read more

Unionist violence after flag vote…

AS predictably as night follows day, unionist protesters have turned to violence after tonight’s City Hall vote to restrict the flying of the Union Flag to designated days. Trouble erupted in and around the City Hall itself, but is right now spreading to other areas, noteably East Belfast. A number of police have been injured, and two female officers taken to hospital. You can leave reports of any trouble you observe below. Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Talking to Occupy Belfast camp in Writer’s Square

Occupy Belfast Writers Square

Following on from my earlier Occupy Belfast – rebels without a cause? post, I spoke to Gerry Carroll at lunchtime today, sheltering under a pagoda set up beside the impromptu Occupy Belfast camp in Writer’s Square opposite St Anne’s Cathedral. Gerry from the @OpOccupyBelfast camp in Writer”s Square /cc @OccupyBelfast (mp3) About ten tents are pitched in the square. The protesters have a nightly meeting at 6pm to decide on the next course of action, and have no plans to … Read more

Occupy Belfast – rebels without a cause?

Occupy Belfast Fist poster

Occupy Belfast are reclaiming the ‘O’ word in these neck of the woods as they organise a protest “to show solidarity with workers and young people fighting against austerity and for a better future across the world, and to tell our politicians that the fight is coming to them”. Over the weekend, there were hundreds of arrests in New York as Occupy Wall Street protesters were disrupted by the NYPD. Arrests seem unlikely as the Belfast sister organisation plans its … Read more

POTD – Meditation

at Cornmarket Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants … Read more

No Free Presbyterian protest lodged against Belfast Pride Parade this year

belfast pride logo

Now in its 21st year after its first “run through the city centre” Belfast Pride has a week of activities (and a growing set of events on the fringe) surrounding the Saturday afternoon parade through Belfast city centre. This year only one group has registered a protest with the Parades Commission. So unless the normal protest from Sandown Free Presbyterian has merged in with the Stop the Parade Coalition, they must be staying at home on the afternoon of Saturday … Read more

Photograph of the Day – William and Victoria

Ulster Says No (neigh)to the cuts. Taken at yesterdays ICTU organised rally which, by my estimation, had at it’s peak between 3500- 4000 people in attendance,  (though the umbrellas made it difficult to guage). The building site that is Royal avenue also played it’s part in making it difficult to count the numbers. Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern … Read more

Republican protest doesn’t need or seek permission

This afternoon saw a large enough gathering of republicans in Lurgan (500+ seems a reasonable estimate). For those attending their intention was to demonstrate support for republican prisoners and protest against the conditions/regime they face in gaol. It also exposed an entirely different issue, a problem that could present an increasing challenge to the Parades Commission, PSNI, Stormont Justice Minister and the Assembly as a whole. The first large scale republican challenge to state structures on parading came with éirígí’s … Read more

Date and venue set for round 2

Greater Ardoyne Resident’s Collective (GARC) spokesman Mairtin Og Meehan has confirmed the group’s intention to stage a protest at the Apprentice Boy’s parade past Ardoyne on August 14, reports the newsletter. ABOD Ligoniel Walker Club have sought permission for a parade with one band and up to 90 participants, with August 4 the date set for the Parades Commission’s consideration of  the application. Meehan said if the “socially detached and discredited Parades Commission” allow the Apprentice Boys to march past … Read more

“This story could end very badly indeed”

The No Wash protest in the Long Kesh during the late 70s and early 80s never really created an impact outside groups already sympathetic to republican prisoners. No matter how hard families, committees and republicans tried the prison struggle did not influence broader public consciousness until well into the 2nd Hunger Strike. So it is hardly surprising very few are aware of an ongoing no-wash protest and battle over human waste being carried out by republican prisoners in the reincarnated … Read more

Cui bono? Not those protesting for sure

Over a period of months a diverse group have been turning up at the gates of Magheraberry prison in support of republican prisoners. The day after the most recent protest what was described as ‘an elaborate hoax’ bomb was found near the gaol. The next day a similar device ‘later declared an elaborate hoax’ was found at Hydebank. Of course this may lead to suspicions that republicans were involved in these hoaxes but given they have consistently complained of stop … Read more

A farce within a force

With today’s protest against DUP/SF proposed legislation to restrict the right to public assembly the PSNI earlier demonstrated how they will try and curb the current right to legal Public Assembly anyhow. Last year the PSNI successfully prevented éirígí’s protest against Armed Forces Day in Belfast by blocking protestors as they made their way to the assembly point. This year éirígí got around that by assembling directly at City Hall and not travelling there as a group. This meant their … Read more

Belfast – a tale of three protests

Belfast is protest central tomorrow – for the leftie, libertarian, socialist, republican or just plain serial moaner you are positively spoilt for choice. In the best traditions of protest, you will have to choose because three protests take place separately and are essentially competing. You could join the protest against the DUP/SF drafted bill that would restrict the right to public assembly – Stop the Public Assemblies Bill, leaving the Arts College at 12pm heading towards the City Hall. You … Read more

In solidarity?

Joe Higgins, Irish Socialist Party MEP, is sponsoring a march and rally in Dublin as part of a ‘Europe-wide week of solidarity and protest’ something he initiated within his European political group (nothing arranged north of the border that I can see). The poster advertising it states the rally has been endorsed by; Socialist Party, Workers Party, Socialist Workers Party, PBP, Right to Work, Workers Solidarity Movement, éirígí, Irish Socialist Network and Socialist Democracy. Sinn Féin are not noted as … Read more

Republicans, prisoners, parades and conflict

I previously noted the Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration parade that applied for permission from the Parades Commission and how this was at least one reason RSF refused to support it. Last week’s parade in support of Republican prisoners in Belfast, organised by RSF, didn’t apply for permission and was allowed to take place unhindered (it was a smallish affair as the bulk of those supporting prisoners met in the Conway Mill). Now the Families, Friends and Ex-POWs group are organising … Read more