Unwelcome Orangemen Marching Through Ardoyne
Last Monday, the Orange Order blatantly ignored the wishes of the vast majority of Ardoyne residents to march through our community twice. The secterian organisation also discounted advice from, the RUC/PSNI, Clergy, Politicians, Residents Groups, Community Leaders and Journalists that if they stormed ahead. This procession would undoubtably lead to inevitable violence and set community relations back years. Regardless of this, the Loyal Order coat-trailed through Ardoyne and left behind a trail of devastation in its wake.
Yet again, another generation of Ardoyne residents feel humiliated by Orange intruders and alienated by the hostile actions of the RUC/PSNI. Contentious parades prevent local people from living in peace. Bigoted marches are clearly not wanted in our area and proven time and again that they only breed violence.
GARC Protesters Being Forcibly Removed
Even though, GARC peacefully attempted to stop this year's Twelfth parade from passing Ardoyne. We were prevented from doing so by hundreds of riot-clad, paramilitary Police. Who hemmed us in and forcibly removed us from the Crumlin Road. A number of our Activists have since been charged and are due to appear before Court, next month. Afterwards, the same cops welded their batons and fired over seventy plastic bullets at bystanders.
We believe the Loyal Orders cannot shirk its responsibilities and blame others for their shortcomings! If the Orders are indeed christian organisations who believe in civil and religious liberty. Then they need to step up to the mark, and seriously reassess their outdated insistance to march in Ardoyne. Like most areas in this city, there has been a huge democrafic change in North Belfast. As such, recognition by the Loyal Orders, Parades Commission, RUC/PSNI and Politicians of these changes must be taken into account. Residents in these areas have a right not to be bothered by regular secterian parades outside their homes.
We have been accussed by some within the Protestant community of, ' not wanting a Prod about the place'. If this was true, would local Protestants not be prevented from going about their daily business. Would they not be stopped from travelling up or down the Crumlin Road the other 364 days of the year. We welcome and will defend the rights of North Belfast Protestants to live in peace. GARC reiterate our respect for the Protestant religion, heritage and culture. We support the right of all groups to parade in a peaceful manner. However, they must adhere to the rights of others and march only where they are welcome!
GARC have also been wrongly accussed by some Nationalist Politicans of 'orchastrating rioting' which followed our protest on the Twelfth? S/F need to explain to the people of greater Ardoyne, why they didn’t join our protests? Maybe their hypocritical statements were issued to justify their part in the very system that condemns us annually to bigotry. Historically speaking, unwanted violence has always followed naked acts of sectarianism in Ardoyne. Long before GARC came into being! Regarding us, coaching children to riot? If your Party has evidence then produce it, because we are confident it does not exist! Local people remember well, S/F Leaders sending our youth out to take on the Crown Forces and Loyalists in street battles many times. Were these teenagers not used as cover and to exploit certain situations! Or do they forget the heroic deeds of Na Fianna Eireann and Cumann Na gCailini ?
RUC/PSNI Gunmen On Stand-By
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective would like to stress that we are NOT affiliated to any political group or party! We are determined to oppose further secterian marches forced through our community in the future. However, we are equally resolute in our willingness to meet anyone concerned to articulate our analysis.