A farce within a force

Picture via belfastjj on Twitter

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 protest was inarguably a Public Assembly and did not require any application or permissions to take place.

However, as can be seen in the picture the PSNI attempted to claim that the legal public assembly was a parade and displayed a large poster warning of the potential for action under Public Processions legislation which has no relevance to Public Assemblies. As we’ve noted before on Slugger Public Assemblies fall under the Public Order Act and are not subject to any parading law.

Armed Forces Day supporter at éirígí protest - photo from Stephen Barnes but face obscured on request

The PSNI also threatened a man making a statement in support of Armed Forces Day with arrest for breach of the peace as Stepbar’s photo shows (many thanks for permission to use the image). More photos from Stephen Barnes here.

ADDS: The protestor pictured above has informed Slugger (me) that while he said ‘arrest me if you must’ to the PSNI he also stated  ‘what our troops are fighting for is Democracy so people can protest like erigi as long as its within the law’

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  • Donald Fraser

    Proper order – Eirigi, and their mirror-image goons ‘marching’ in support of the armed forces should have been rounded up, taken to Rathlin Island and then left to make their own way home. When are these wankers ever going to get the message that nobody cares about their vile, grubby little parades/protests/public humiliations? Fuck. Off.

  • Donald Fraser

    P.S. Any estimate of how many members of Eirigi are in full-time employment? Astounded if it’s more than ten per cent.

  • Mark McGregor

    If anyone has or knows of a clearer picture of the PSNI warning notice please send it on. Thanks.

  • Michael

    I’d like to know that too Donald, this country went downhill ever since non householders were given the right to vote.

  • padraig

    Just to say I am 5000% behind Donald and Michael in this. Adolph was right in his line with so called , ‘Free Speech’ and , so called, ‘Right to Assemble’. Fair enough if they are marching or speaking about stuff folks like Donald, Michael, Adolph and myself could go along with but these folks are just plain nuts. Never mind dumping them on the Isle of Mann Donald, what about having special camps to put them all in……to gather them all together so they can be dealt with…errrrrr with concentration…I’ve got it, let’s call them Concentration Camps; what do you think?

  • John East Belfast

    Donald

    Armed Forces Day was marked around the whole UK with 50,000 people attending it in Cardiff alone. At Wimbledon there was recognition as well prior to play.

    I cant see how you have a problem with those wanting to mark it in Belfast ?

  • Cynic

    Looks to me that PSNI were probably absolutely right.

    If, for example, the event within the city hall involved a procession to the centopah it was a public procession in a public place. Any counter protest then required to be notified to the Parades Commission.

    This nonsense about a Public Assembly is guff – any related protests are regulated by the Public Processions Act.

    Anyway Mark, your desperation is palpable

  • Cynic

    Padraig

    Nice to see that you are keeping up the Republican tradition of siding with right wing dictators and psychopaths

  • I’ve got a much clearer photo – send me your email via Flickr.

  • Mark McGregor

    Cynic,

    There was no parade notified to the Parades Commission so éirígí’s static Public Assembly did not count as a notifiable protest

    http://www.paradescommission.org/parades/?quick_search=belfast&datefrom_Day=25%2F06%2F2010&dateto_Day=27%2F06%2F2010&search-datebutton.x=10&search-datebutton.y=14&search-datebutton=GO&quicksend=GO

    Unless you are claiming there was an illegal parade in support of Armed forces Day in the grounds of City Hall?

  • Mark McGregor

    Thanks Stephen. I did.

  • Michael

    Pinochet is alive and hiding up the falls from the Spanish courts.

  • Cynic

    If its to the cenotaph for a service it may be exempt anyway.

    Your desperation is still palpable.

  • Mark McGregor

    No. My understanding of the law and the PSNI’s attempt to subvert it is correct.

    Your desire to not address the topic is real not palpable.

  • iluvni

    I note Eirigi arent above abusing innocent children by having them in street protests holding their placards.
    Shameful.

  • Mark McGregor

    And I note you have no concern about the cops attempting to enforce laws that don’t exist.

  • pinni

    Obviously, the PSNI are following the spirit if not the letter of the law. What a pity that Eirigi idiots are still trying to annoy everyone’s happiness. Can’t Eirigi followers find something more useful and uplifting to do instead of attempting to increase tension and strife? Get a life, guys!

  • Mrazik

    Judging by the size of the “crowd” it seems that very few actually give a fcuk.

  • iluvni

    I’ve little time for the cops but on a lovely sunny summer’s day like today, that they have to deal with such a miserable bunch of moping fuckers must be soul destroying.

  • Alias

    The British police force in NI will continue to act outside of that state’s own law if it citizens continue to allow it to. No change there then…

  • Mrazik

    You could say that about any police force anywhere in the world.

  • Alias

    I doubt it. It the police in Dublin or Paris applied the wrong law to prohibit a publlic protest then there would be uproar and sackings a-plenty. In NI, the only consequence is that folks first look at the sector of its citizens to whom the law was wrongly applied and if it isn’t their sectarian grouping then they support the state as it abuses the rights of their fellow citizens and abuses its own laws. If, however, it is their sectarian grouping, then said uproar duly ensues. That is profoundly abnormal and only applies in an abnornal society such as NI.

  • Mark McGregor

    Blog updated with pro-Armed Forces Day comment

  • aquifer

    Or were the police just making sure nobody started parading around in ignorance of the law by turning a legal public assembly into an illegal parade. It was a very hot day to be shoving people around.

    The separate and much larger legal procession or demonstration, against SFDUP laws against demonstrations at short notice, happened after the eirigi assembly had dispersed.

  • Donald Fraser

    ‘Subvert the law’?!?!?!? That’s right Mark – presumably Eirigi are totally against that sort of thing. Utter verminous, work-shy, mopeing, wrong-headed scum the lot of them. As Mrazik points out the ‘crowd’ (particularly when one excludes the shamefully press-ganged children involved) is a risible endorsement of these wankers’ support within wider Northern society.

    John East Belfast – because (as you darn well disingenuously know) – this isn’t Wimbledon or Cardiff – it’s Belfast/Northern Ireland/This Here Pravince/Whatever – the Armed Forces don’t enjoy the support of the entire community, their behaviour hasn’t routinely been the best (see events in Derry last week if you’ve the memory to recall them) and the type of punter who tends to line out in ‘support’ of the British Army in Belfast (witness, as I did, the great unwashed who turned out to ‘welcome home’ the RIR) is the loyalist mirror image of their Eirigi neighbours. End. Of.

  • aquifer

    iluvi ‘I note Eirigi arent above abusing innocent children by having them in street protests holding their placards.’

    No that was the later and much larger legal demo that had participants including socialists and union youth groups. I am sure eirigi and Mark would like that made clear.

  • Lucille

    I agree with Alias. Some of the comments today are so transparent. I don’t think some people in NI want to live in a Democracy or Republic. They would like to keep it the way it used to be..their way or the highway. Pretty pathetic.

  • wj

    I have to admire eirigi’s tactics although I know little about them.
    Checking the internet I found that last year eirigi forced the cops into preventing them from getting to the city hall with the incident being shown to tv.
    Today, around at least 50/60 landrovers were placed around the city centre for a protest that was never even publicised as a march, each containing at least 5/6 officers, equates to eirigi tying up at least 250/360 cops.
    Whoever gave the authorisation for so many cops being deployed should be sacked.
    They are cute hoors in their thinking for tying up so many cops for half a day.
    And as there was no march but a picket at the city hall, those cops could not do anything to prevent it
    Nice, neat, no trouble and point made. And this from someone who doesn’t support eirigi.

  • John East Belfast

    Donald

    Are you quite happy for British Soldiers from Belfast who are risking their lives in Afghanistan (a war nothing to do with Irish Republicanism) to sneak back into their home city so as not to annoy people like Eirigi ?

    I am not – and in my opinion no reasonable person would either.

    I dont believe in your nihilistic approach to gettig on with people.

    Anyhow there are lots of cities throughout GB where militant muslims and Scottish republicans could muster a much better protest and crowd than Eirigi could but the overwhelming majority of the British public will treat them with the contempt they deserve.

    However you dont make a civilised society by saying you will show equal contempt for everyone.

    In other words by you saying lets have no recognition you have done Eirigi’s job for them by effectively abandonig the parade.

  • aquifer

    I’d rather pay nurses and teachers

  • Unlucky Erb

    ‘what our troops are fighting for is Democracy so people can protest like erigi as long as its within the law’

    What deluded nonsense. The brits are over in Afganistan and Iraq because their government was more than eager to join that retard Bush in his oil war and overseas jolly.

    The British army is viewed as a foreign force by nearly half the population here and has been involved inkillings of civilians across the six counties. It’s only to be expected that some will object to this crappy PR day held in ther honour.

  • Donald Fraser

    John – if you can’t read my posts then there’s little point in debating with you. Read it again – this isn’t GB (as you well know) it’s a semi-detached part of the UK where a highly significant minority does not love/welcome/respect the British Army and where the majority of those people who turn out on the streets to support the British Army are (and I’ve seen it with my own eyes) chavvy scum.

  • vanhelsing

    …and the the extension of the logical sequence of your arguement 50 will want to honour those who have died for their coutntry in a foreign field.

    ———-It’s only to be expected that some will object to this crappy PR day held in ther honour.————

    object away – thats democracy – something that Afghan didn’t have BTW

  • vanhelsing

    ———-and where the majority of those people who turn out on the streets to support the British Army are (and I’ve seen it with my own eyes) chavvy scum————

    Perhaps Donald you’d be better off in Wimbledon or Knightsbridge….

    ————When are these wankers ever going to get the message that nobody cares about their vile, grubby little parades/protests/public humiliations? Fuck. Off————–

    lot of inner turmoil there 🙂 Some people care AFD supports the troops over in Afgan who are trying to restore some democracy to the country, cut down in the flow of drugs, give women an equal place in society and provide education for everyone.

    No but you’re right – what was I thinking it was a pointless war and we shouldn’t honour people who have given their life or limbs because of it.

    ‘it’s a semi-detached part of the UK’ – b+++++++ which source did you find that one… http://www.32countiesareus.ie

  • John East Belfast

    Donald

    I am reading your posts but I dont have to agree with you.

    People can have whatever view they like of the Brtish Armed Forces but they shouldnt be stopping them parading in their own city during a UK wide commoration ?

    Are you ridiculously saying that everyone who expresses support for the UK Armed Forces in NI are chavvy scum ?

    Why should the type of people who express solidarity with the UK Armed Forces as found in England, Scotland and Wales not be replicated in Northern Ireland ?

    You are only displaying your own intolerant prejudice

  • Donald Fraser

    John – I didn’t say that “everyone who expresses support for the UK Armed Forces in NI are chavvy scum”. I said that “the majority of those people who turn out on the streets to support the British Army are…… chavvy scum”. Again, it helps if you actually READ posts before responding to them. Vanhelsing – sorry old chap – you’re so illiterate as to be incomprehensible – better luck next time etc.

  • John East Belfast

    Donald

    Majority -Did you go along and count them or something ?

    The issue is there are a bunch of guys – many from NI – risking their lives on a daily basis in a war that has some degree of international support and certainly had its routes in a just cause.

    Throughout the UK the past Labour Govt had deemed that a period be set aside to honour their barvoury and sacrifice.

    In Belfast that want to be done to march through their own city centre – like every other city – and their relatives, friends and supporters come and clap them as they pass – the whole event will at best last an hour.

    You tell me what is best

    1, The event does not occur
    2. Those who will find the whole event so distasteful just do something else (which for 99% of them would have been what they did anyway) for the period.

    You tell me what is the better type of society you want to live in ?

  • John East Belfast

    Donald

    Majority -Did you go along and count them or something ?

    The issue is there are a bunch of guys – many from NI – risking their lives on a daily basis in a war that has some degree of international support and certainly had its routes in a just cause.

    Throughout the UK the past Labour Govt had deemed that a period be set aside to honour their barvoury and sacrifice.

    In Belfast that want to be done to march through their own city centre – like every other city – and their relatives, friends and supporters come and clap them as they pass – the whole event will at best last an hour.

    You tell me what is best

    1, The event does not occur
    2. Those who will find the whole event so distasteful just do something else (which for 99% of them would have been what they did anyway) for the period.

    You tell me what is the better type of society you want to live in ?

  • vanhelsing

    John I don’t think that English is Donald’s first language….pity

    Perhaps it’s just the arguments that he finds incapable of responding to, you’re not an ostrich perchance? But you really shouldn’t be posting if you can’t defend your statements..

    ———–John – I didn’t say that “everyone who expresses support for the UK Armed Forces in NI are chavvy scum”. I said that “the majority of those people who turn out on the streets to support the British Army are…… chavvy scum”—————

    I hope that my following question doesn’t test your English or powers of reasoning too much but I would imagine that your statement,

    ‘the majority of those people who turn out on the streets to support the British Army are…… chavvy scum’

    you may find difficult to support….is this just your own qualitative research, wouldn’t imagine you’d have been at too many of these events to make such a judgement. Perhaps you were counting the chav’s on UTV or something  I would imagine that the people of Wootton Bassett would seek to disagree for a start [perhaps that’s a town without chavvy scum] or perhaps they form part of your minority…

    If you can’t manage to respond to this simple question you shouldn’t really be posting 

  • Donald Fraser

    No (glad to see you’ve now READ the post by the way) – I didn’t count them but i was in town on the morning of the RIR homecoming and the vast majority of punters present were the type of trash that I’d phone the police about if I
    spotted them on my property.

    “The issue is there are a bunch of guys – many from NI – risking their lives on a daily basis in a war that has some degree of international support and certainly had its routes in a just cause.” Is this comedy night? So conflicts that have ‘some’ degree of international support and their routes (sic) in a just cause deserve the recognition/support of ordinary Northern citizens? You’re having a laugh. Anyone dense enough to be a squaddie in the British army and fight in a bonkersly pointless and illegitimate war like Afghanistan/Iraq etc. deserves everything they get. If their relatives, friends, supporters etc want to come and clap them through the streets on their return then fine – all I’m saying is that (unsurprisingly, given the calibre of the squaddies themselves) their relatives tend (in my experience) to be a fairly ghastly bunch – swap their Rangers/Linfield/Northern Ireland shell suits for Ireland/Celtic/Cliftonville gear and you’d be hard pressed to tell them and the Eirigi untermenschen apart.

  • Donald Fraser

    Sorry Vanhelsing – thought my posts were fairly impeccably drafted (feel free to point out any grammatical or other errors, but given the utterly insensible content of your 1:37pm post I suspect that that type of task may well render you prone in a darkened room). As for your (marginally) less inarticulate 11:00 pm post – I meant those turning out on the streets of NI as opposed to GB (as if you didn’t know). There’s a good chap.

  • wee buns

    Here you are talking sense again Alias. Do mot know how come this same logic deserted you during the recent Israeli attack on an aid boat, but hey, good point about the abnormal society.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Och I’m sure the overtme doesn’t insult them, have you read about their latest OT bill ? Unferkingbelievable.

  • John East Belfast

    Donald Fraser

    “Anyone dense enough to be a squaddie in the British army and fight in a bonkersly pointless and illegitimate war like Afghanistan/Iraq etc. deserves everything they get”

    I am sure you appreciate your views are loathsome to the vast majority of the citisens of the civilised world – UK, USA, France etc all have soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan and only a nasty minority within would hold views like yours ?

    However it is good to know that your contempt is for all UK soldiers and not just those recruited in NI.

    Actually you and Eirigi would make good freinds if you really thought about it

    As Van Helsing said earlier there is clearly a lot of inner turmoil in your life for which you should seek help

  • Cormac Mac Art

    The North is another country. They do things differently there.

  • Drumlin Rock

    “Section 7 of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998
    requires a person proposing to organise a protest meeting that is
    related to a public procession to give, where practicable, a
    minimum of 14 days notice of that proposal to the police on a
    prescribed form. The form must be signed by the organiser and
    handed in to a police officer, not below the rank of sergeant, at the
    police station nearest to the place at which the related protest
    meeting is to be held.”

    I dont know if the Parades commission were notified of the parade, but it wasnt publicised for the obvious reason of things Eirigis friends might do.

  • wat a very childish statement donald,i know most eirigi members an they are actually in well paid jobs,they are also much to ur dissapointment very bright.

  • agree with ur statement wj…eirigi are very sharp people

  • eirigi did not and will not ever ask permission to walk or talk in their town an streets from a foreign occupational force,asking someone if you have there permission to rise up against them is insane and eirigi will not be doing this anytime soon…..