Widespread disruption in Belfast and beyond

The BBC are reporting numerous bomb-alerts, closed roads and disorder across Belfast. I had a lengthy detour to get home, any updates etc add them below or drop me a mail if your aren’t registered.

  • Gaz

    Vehicles hijacked in Kilwilkie in Lurgan as well apparently.

    All bus services in west Belfast and some in east Belfast suspended.

    Stormont Hotel evacuated.

    UTV reporting some vehicles in Belfast were hijacked and set alight by ‘armed men’.

  • Scaramoosh

    Perhaps they are putting on a show ahead of tonight’s Panorama programme (not blogged here)?

  • Andrew Charles
  • Comrade Stalin

    Whiteabbey PSNI station had a visible police presence outside, but no disruption on the motorway or Westlink for me on the way up.

  • Gaz

    An earlier security alert outside Antrim PSNI station has now ended.

  • courageunderfire

    8:17pm Hillview Road and Crumlin Road still sealed off

  • Mark McGregor

    Anyone else thinking today’s disruption was intended to occur alongside Panorama’s analysis of the ability of traditional armed republicanism? Widespread and clearly coordinated as the MSM was talking down the threat?

  • courageunderfire

    Two explosions in the Oldpark Road.. not sure if they are controlled explosions by the Army bomb team but one followed the other very quickly

  • padraic

    Yes, clearly very well co-ordinated, planned and would have involved more than a ‘micro’ number of people. However, I’m not so sure that the MSM has been “talking down the threat” – the consensus across the media and political classes seems to be that we’re dealing with relatively few people, quite decentralised in any organisational or structured sense, yet they remain highly dangerous and motivated and capable of causing sporadic disruption.

  • Mark McGregor

    padraic,

    I think the ‘micro’ group tag so loved of SF spokespersons has now been exposed as a lie to all.

    Maybe now people will stop using Sevastopol St and Teach Basil as reliable when it comes to comment on traditional republicanism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark,

    A couple of people sitting around a table would have been able to organize this, and it’s not the first time in recent years either. It’s hardly realistic to suggest that what happened today means they are a force to be reckoned with.

  • padraic

    A couple of people sitting around a table probably did organise this – but did a couple of people manage to hijack all those cars, vans etc. and create the scares outside police stations between them? Highly doubtful. You only need one or two people to plan something like this, you need several to implement it.

    Mark,

    Spot on. In my own home town (way out west) there a substantial number of them. Seemingly they don’t have much organisational capacity of resources (or even too many ‘old hands’) but that they have strength in numbers is without doubt. The ‘microgroup’ label is a downright lie and is used (if you pardon my John O’Connellesque turn of phrase) to propagate Sinn Féin propaganda.

  • al

    The M1 is now closed country & city-bound. What’s the deal here? Surely those who parked the lorries outside the police stations were caught on CCTV but what can they be charged with? Parking on double-yellows?

  • picador

    So if they can prove they are not a ‘microgroup’, what then? Will they engage in some strategic thinking?

    I would say they are a tiny group of malcontented militarists. The Baader-Meinhof group were also a micro-group but they still managed to wreak havoc in Germany.

    So what, they burned a few buses!

  • padraic

    Yeah they just burned a few buses. And caused not inconsiderable disruption to tens of thousands of people. And brought soldiers back onto the streets again. And have caused the usual round of cross-political condemnation and tut-tutting – from the First Minister and beyond. That’s all.

    The fact that more than a ‘microgroup’ are involved means that we’re dealing with a more widespread and considerable problem than Adams, McGuinness et al like to pretend and portray. While quite obviously we’re nowhere near the ‘abyss’, their ability to conduct a lengthy, if not sustained, campaign increases reciprocally with their number of members.

    And yes, just because they’re not a microgroup doesn’t mean they have any intelligence or ability to think strategically. Doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous though.

  • Kensei

    My mother told me tonight an acquaintance of my father had a gun put his his head, something placed in this van and was told to drive to a police station. He didn’t and went elsewhere and phoned the police. I have no idea of the veracity, but can’t see why anyone would lie about it. Scary stuff.

  • Comrade Stalin

    A couple of people sitting around a table probably did organise this – but did a couple of people manage to hijack all those cars, vans etc. and create the scares outside police stations between them? Highly doubtful.

    Phoning in bomb warnings takes one or two people, a codeword, and a telephone. How many stories are there of kids phoning warnings into their school ? There were a few up in Ballymurphy lately doing just that.

    You only need one or two people to plan something like this, you need several to implement it.

    Yup, a crowd of about 10 tracksuit wearing spides who think that hijacking buses and throwing bricks and bottles at the peelers makes them real men. I bet they’re hard to find.

    The ‘microgroup’ label is a downright lie and is used (if you pardon my John O’Connellesque turn of phrase) to propagate Sinn Féin propaganda.

    Sorry, but relative to the size and organizational coherence of the IRA itself, and the wider Sinn Fein organization, they are a microgroup. How many votes do their candidates get in elections ? Fuck all. Less votes than the sticks. It’s not Sinn Fein propaganda that this organization has close to zero support throughout Ireland. That is the message that people are putting out there.

    And brought soldiers back onto the streets again.

    Where ?

  • padraic

    1. Only a few of the incidents were as a result of telephone warnings – the majority involved hijacked vehicles.

    2. So? The Provisionals used similar ‘undesirables’ to do this sort of work.

    3. Without doubt completely correct. However, neither Sinn Féin nor I have made such a comparison or talked in such relative terms. The term ‘micro’ group connotes four or five lunatics. What sort of political support did the Provos receive at the beginnings of their campaign? Not much more than this lot.

    4. I saw soldiers protecting bomb disposal experts at one location on the news reports covering the incidents – unable to say exactly where.

  • Driftwood

    I saw soldiers protecting bomb disposal experts at one location

    Standard British Army procedure to have soldiers guarding soldiers on duty. been happening for the past 10 years here with Felix. Happens in London as well.

    Nothing to see here, move along please

  • padraic

    [i]Standard British Army procedure to have soldiers guarding soldiers on duty.[/i]

    The bomb squad are called into my town two or three times a month on average and, even in recent weeks, I have never seen them guarded over by other soldiers (obviously I refer only to the last four or five years). I’d also severely doubt the veracity of your “happens in London as well” claim.

  • Achieving a united Ireland one traffic jam at a time…

  • Pat mccann

    I must say the language used here rings a certain bell “malcontented militarists” “microgroups” “a few guys sitting around a table e.t.c.” I see it differently,Martin mcguinness calling fellow irishmen traitors will become a tombstone around his neck im glad to say.All our brave irish soldiers fighting ,dying,sacrificing their lives and their families lives for what? So that he and his friends in the british establishment can stand side by side on the steps of a british institution and call irish republicans “traitors”? I for one have always been undecided regarding the present so called “peace process” and have always been overruled by the “we cant go back to the old days” argument,and i have to admit i dont want to see a return to the suffering our communities had to endure down the years,but recent events have made me and im sure others reconsider, the role Sinn fein have played in this present stage of the conflict has been nothing short of abysmal.Their inherent inability to protect the communities who voted them into office is shameful,yet they sit and pontificate about the worlds problems,totally disregarding the problems in their own communities.The long suffering palestinian people had the courtesy of an Adams visit to try and glean some respite from israeli attacks on their land,yet at the same time Ballymurphy was in turmoil,caused by two feuding families in crime,they turned their backs again and let that proud community be the laughing stock of Ireland,something the british could never have achieved,to finish i would like to quote a famous irishman “They havent gone away you know” only they have, but we havent.

  • horse eye

    It’s not hard to persuade a bunch of hoods to burn a few vehicles. They do it every weekend anyway, usually it’s just stolen cars, and it’s so common it’s not reported.

    I agree with Comrade Stalin’s analysis. They’re a bunch of criminals and just because they can persuade a bunch of other criminals to cause some disruption doesn’t mean they have any achievable political aims or broad public support for their ‘war’.