Policing politics

The PSNI in Belfast seem determined to hand a propaganda victory to éirígí and almost make their political points for them every time they encounter one of their protests.

As the video shows last week saw them deploy en mass, stop and search and use various pieces of legislation against éirígí members taking part in a sponsored walk and protest on Divis mountain. When contacted by the Andersontown News the PSNI flatly denied having any interaction with them but this was exposed as a complete lie when éirígí members presented around a dozen stop and search cards, video of the incident and their version was supported by, amongst others, an Andytown News staff member.The reason the PSNI felt is necessary to use such manpower hasn’t been revealed but given their previous denial anything occurred any statement from them on the incident would be next to worthless.

The éirígí video of the demonstration shows the police action was to deal with a small group of people walking on public land, listening to a speech, holding a few placards and waving flags. At worst there seems to have been one case of trespass.

Using their usual get out of gaol free card the PSNI spokesperson contacted by the ATN stated that anyone with complaints should contact the Ombudsman – something they know won’t happen when those targeted reject the PSNI’s legitimacy and would not make use of any structures supposedly holding them to account. It remains to be seen if those supporting the police and claiming to hold them to account raise the issue on their behalf.

In June they used a mass deployment to prevent their demonstration against Armed Forces Day for a technical breech of parading legislation when supporters stepped on the road at a construction site while making their way to Belfast City Hall.

  • RG Cuan

    The police reaction leaves a lot do be desired. And how many landrovers do they need?!

  • Drumlins Rock

    So the police sent a few landrovers to a breech of security at a “military installation” by a group associated by many with dissident republicanism.
    “sponsored walk” me arse.

  • NCM

    Shouldn’t non-violent republican political activism be welcomed and not quashed? I see this apparent PSNI/RUC campaign of political repression against republican activists, eirigi and others, as stupidly wrongheaded — non-violent activism should be welcomed by all sides — unless the PSNI/RUC knows it would be weakened institutionally if it can’t silence its biggest detractors through any means it available to it, in which case this campaign makes sense from its standpoint, despite being against the interests of everyone else.

  • Ardboe-all-seeing-eye

    Having watched the video, i see no evidence of any stop&searches; being conducted by the PSNI.

    There are a few fuzzy stills of the alleged records but they could have been issued 6months ago for all we know.

    To highlight their plight, perhaps they should have used the camera to record these stops and searches as they happened, up the mountain.

    Ps how far did they walk, unless in was 10 miles+ sure it wouldnt be worth a sponsering !

  • Freddie

    What exactly is Eirigi’s position on the use of ‘armed struggle’? I seem to recall Colin Duffy taking part in their protest against the returning Northern Irish troops in Belfast last year.

  • shorty

    “In June they used a mass deployment to prevent their demonstration against Armed Forces Day for a technical breech of parading legislation”

    Its interesting that despite using/abusing parades legislation to prevent the June protest, to my knowledge, the PSNI have not, in the intervening six months, initiated any prosecutions against those whom it was publicly claimed by the PSNI at the time had allegedly broken the law.

    Were the PSNI afraid that any such cases would have given eirigi a field-day in court and in the media, publicly shown up the PSNI actions for what they were, before the cases would have eventually been thrown out?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Good video and fair point.

    Hopefully the issue has been raised with the Ombudsman’s office?

  • Mark McGregor


    Not my video. I’d most likely have been nursing a hangover in bed while éirígí peeps annoyed the cops.

  • Mark McGregor


    My understanding is éirígí’s position on the use of armed struggle is a little ambiguous. They reject ‘militarism’ as ‘elitist’ and state armed struggle in current conditions is counterproductive and damaging to republicanism.

    Clearly they don’t rule out supporting armed struggle in the future but they are against it currently.

    Indeed, their current leader when faced with a standoff with the PSNI at their protest against the RIR homecoming parade said ‘the day will come when we fight you’ (paraphrase)

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry – last should have been addressed to ‘Freddie’

  • Freddie


    Thanks. Isn’t it likely then that the PSNI would have some justification in seeing Erigi as a component part of the greatest threat to peace on this island at present, and that consequently they would be quite justified in keeping a foot on their necks so to speak?

  • Mark McGregor


    I’d kind of agree. éirígí are clearly committed to overthrowing the state (British). I personally fully expect the PSNI to work towards limiting them. Is it justified? You’d have to ask a PSNI supporter eg any member of SF.

  • Intelligence Insider

    An illegally held parade, held by a criminal group that has had members arrested in conjunction with recent murders, approaches a secure area containing security personnel. What the hell do you expect to happen Mark? Did you think eirigay would be invited in for tea and crumpets? A very light handed approach by the P.S.N.I. is what I saw occur.

  • Tea and crumpets? With or without Polonium?

  • Mark McGregor


    Top notch. I knew someone would eventually try and sell it as a threat against the state. Well done. Pity the video just shows around 15 people walking, waving the odd banner and wasting their and everyone else’s time. Until the PSNI turn up.

    What do you recommend live or baton rounds?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mark, can you not read? II did not mention anything about a “threat to the state” and most certainly didnt mention shooting anyone, so quit trying to hype things up even more than you have already.
    The biggest threat likely in that situation would have been to the protestors own safety by their own actions ie. one of them had already breeched the boundary fence and I’m sure at time the landrovers were dispatched the likelyhood of others doing so seemed very real, can you imagine what it would be like safely getting down a dozen people down who had handcuffed themselves to the top of one of those mast? In that situation the number of police would just about be enough to ensure the safety of the protestors and control the inevitable crowd.
    If searches took place im sure they were looking for cutting gear etc. to assertain if any criminal intent had been planned.

  • Freddie


    I’d be a bit disapointed if any Sinner thought otherwise. It’s a piss or get off the pot scenario.

    The question for republicans though is which organisation to support. The one which is going to bring about a united Ireland via terrorism, at a time when their traditional supporters in America revile terrorism, or the one that is going to bring it about via Stormont.

    Decisions decisions.

  • DC

    Get a life!



    Who was that addressed to? A poster, the protestors or the police? Surely you don’t have any arguement with democratic protest whether you agree or disagree with it’s sentiments? Don’t we get fed the same stuff from the apologists of Orange Order parades, their Unionist political mouthpieces and Loyalist paramilitary death squad escorts?

  • Squig

    True enough Drumline II didn’t mention anything about a threat to the state nor did he mention anything about shooting anyone. He did however mention some ‘criminal group’.

    When did Eirigi become a proscribed group?

    You then add:

    “Can you imagine what it would be like safely getting down a dozen people down who had handcuffed themselves to the top of one of those mast? In that situation the number of police would just about be enough to ensure the safety of the protestors and control the inevitable crowd”

    Except that the crowd were stopped after they had staged their protest and were making their way back after none of the hypothetical scenario that you suggest had happened!!

    You then add:

    “If searches took place im sure they were looking for cutting gear etc. to assertain if any criminal intent had been planned”

    How are you so sure? Surely the chopper would have recorded any criminal acts and relayed it to the units on the ground?

    Sheesh, talk about hyperbolic!!

    The crux of the matter is that this was a group walking on public land to make a protest, police response was excessive and when questioned about their actions by the local media the PSNI lied and were caught out.

  • Dave

    Political policing is an apt description here since it is political ideas and their expression that are actually being policed by the forces of the state.

    The police are pro-state, and these citizens are anti-state. Since that state is British, it seeks to harass those who do not support British sovereignty over the state and who express their opposition to it by public protest. In other words, Irish nationalists rather than those who have formally renounced their right to national self-determination and who have legitimised British rule.

    It would not be necessary for the British state to act to censor anti-state political views if those views did not express truths that serve to undermine the propaganda that supports the state. Clearly, the state realises that its foundations among those duped former nationalists are not solid enough to withstand their scrutiny, and that dissenting viewpoints must deleted in order to prop up the constitutional settlement.

    An example of one of those flimsy foundations is the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ (and out of mind means successfully resolved) gambits that apply to the British army, i.e. where the British army is removed from the streets (and from public view) and this is then heralded by puppets of the British state as fulfilment of the previously declared but now abandoned aim of removing the British army (“the forces of occupation”) from the territory that is no longer disputed by them. This is very weak propaganda but it works so long as it isn’t subject to public scrutiny by public figures. Hence the need to censor emergent political groups like éirígí from every becoming prominent political parties.

    The plebs are encouraged to support this state suppression of free political expression because they are made aware by the state of just how flimsy their settlement is but they are not made aware of the reasons why it is so flimsy. Instead they are encouraged to consolidate their settlement by rejecting any political viewpoint that challenges it and by branding those who express such viewpoints with suitable derogative labels that are designed to undermine them. Fear is used most effectively here, since they are indoctrinated with propaganda to inform them that the alternative to not formally renouncing their former right to national self-determination and accepting the legitimacy of British sovereignty, as they have formally done and can’t formally undo anyway, is a return to the violent assertion of that which has been politically renounced.

  • DC

    They are not anti-state Dave, nor radicals, just people who don’t identify with this particular kind of authority: half-prod, half irish – style.

    They believe they want a republican rule, a blue gardai-shirt rule, despite the peace process proving we are a people of something slightly different than that.

    They aren’t radical just boring conservatives who are motivated by grievance and aren’t prepared to learn, just like climate-change-impact deniers, that self-evident truths aren’t really self-evident truths anymore.

  • Dave

    DC, you can’t be a little bit pregnant. You are either loyal to a sovereign state or you are not. They, as Irish nationalists, are not loyal to the British state. You cannot be a nationalist if you do not beleive in the right of a nation to national self-determination and the state is the sovereign territorial entity by which a nation exercises its right to national self-determination. That is a good example of the non-thinking, non-reality elements that supports the process. The ‘settlement’ legitimises the British state as it was designed to do. That has nothing to do with a ‘protestant tradition’ or even a different nation but is about a state consolidating its territory and seeking to expand it over the rest of ‘the British isles.’ The British state is the only winner there. The plebs, of course, were led to obfuscate a tradition with a nation and then led to obfuscate a nation with a nation, consolidating the latter.

  • Dave

    Typo: “…and then led to obfuscate a nation with a [b]state[/b], consolidating the latter.”

  • Dave

    And by the way, in regard to a socialist republic. They can argue for whatever they like as long as they accept the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination. The Shinners, of course, were always quislings since they never accepted the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination, believing that they had a right to act against the will of the Irish people and establish their state by force. None of the mainstream so-called nationalist parties in Ireland are actually nationalist in the political meaning: they are merely cultural nationalists, having been led by the British state to argue that the Irish nation has no right to a nation-state and should either reintegrate their state into the United Kingdom or otherwise void their right to national self-determination by agreeing that another nation should hold a veto over there right in perpetuity. Those parties are not loyal to the Irish nation and they are certainly not loyal to the Irish state, arguing that it should be dismantled. They’re just quisling muppets promoting treason while disguising it as other. In reality, the Shinners were always cultural nationalists with no grasp of constitutional nuance and dispossessed of all ideas or principles, promoting selfish advancement within the British state for the group that they drew their support from. The ‘republicanism’ was just a cloak that disguised that. The same is largely true of those who supported them and voted for them – selfish interest is what guides them. Those folks care about nothing except their own selfish interests. In that regard, they would be more than pleased to united Ireland under British sovereignty because they’d then be in a stronger position and they are now. They really are whores devoid of all values.

  • DC

    Dave, seemingly endless – we are connected.

    Go figure.

  • KieranJ

    I’ll give it to you straight as an Irish American.

    The Divis Mountain communication facility needs to be blown up by the IRA.

    Case closed.

  • igor

    So did they have Parades Commission approval for the ‘sponsored walk’ or as it an illegal parade Mark?

    Of course it would be terribly unfair for the PSNI to enforce the law wouldn’t it. IS that the ‘propaganda victory’ – ‘police do job in west Belfast – shock horror’

    I also assume that given Eirigi’s support base a few of them will be wanted at any given time for various offences, non-payment of fiens etc.

  • igor

    Has anyone reported Kieran to the FBI yet?

    It cant be long now Kieran. They will be closing in on you and you will find the US approach much less amenable than any police powers here

  • Sarah Lavender


    “I see this apparent PSNI/RUC campaign of political repression against republican activists”

    Has anyone here been on any protests on the island of Britain lately? The British state is very much against all dissent. Things have gotten a little better since G20, but to think this kind of harassment is purely against republicans is just not true.

    We have an authoritarian government in the British Parliament, so don’t start thinking you’re a special case.

    Sure, this reaction appears to have been somewhat over the top, but up til know I’ve been pleased and surprised to see that the PSNI have been much more reasonable in their behaviour towards protest than police are over here.

  • Bemused

    Hilarious video. Eirigi are transparently semi-literate, bog-trash scum. The more of their risible drivel that they continue to place in the public domain the better – we can laugh harder and longer at them. These fascist vermin don’t seem to have any answer to the fact that the entire country (North and South) has voted overwhelmingly for the present arrangements. Fuck. Off. Now. You. Stupid. In-bred. Scum.

  • Sarah,

    You make a good point, my experience of taking part in a couple of marches in London this year made me feel the Metropolitan police are suffering from acute schizophrenia. One minute the march was policed by over friendly Dixon of Dock Green types, the next by pumped up thugs wearing body armour who looked like they had a major problem with steroid use.

    What I find interesting about this thread is not one commentator seems surprised that the PSNI lied to the press, and none see this lying as a big enough problem to even mention it when commenting.

    That the PSNI, like almost all UK police forces continue to lie through their teeth when attempting to dig themselves out of a hole, does make one wonder just how deep the Hugh Orde methodology of policing goes.

    If the PSNI still believe they can lie without sanction to the general public via the media, which they clearly do; what has changed? After all such wretched behaviour was standard behaviour for the RUC, what happened to the bright sunny dawn of new policing?

  • bk

    The Irish Free State cease to exist in December 1937 as a result of the abolition of the office of the Governor-General and all references to The British Monarch in the Irish Constitution. So why keep using this term? Does Eirgi not respect the democratic will of the people of The Former Irish Freestate now called Ireland.

  • NCM

    Peaceful marches by “dissident” republicans with flags and loudspeakers ought to be positively encouraged by the PSNI/RUC. It is stupidly shortsighted (or stupidly institutionally self-interested) for them to do otherwise — and especially to target republican political activists for harrassment, repression, and political arrests.

    I do not support or like or want anything to do with the armed campaign, and really don’t want to see a needless descent into violence. Quashing non-violent protests and political activism, especially involving so-called “dissidents,” does nothing to further peaceful resolution of conflicts.