Republican Sinn Féin congratulates the residents of Ardoyne for their steadfast opposition to the sectarian march forced through their community on Monday July 12, 2010. Upwards of 300 members of the RUC/PSNI surrounded 50-60 peaceful protestors who sat down on the main road despite repeated attempts by armed RUC personnel to forcibly remove them.
Several members of Republican Sinn Féin took part in the sit down in solidarity with the local residents. Stormont member Gerry Kelly accompanied by his entourage stayed away from the area, but later gave the impression of having tried to play some kind of mediating role. I was just another round of lies and spin.
We do not recognise the Stormont representatives who are paid to be the eyes and ears of the RUC while posing as pillars of the community. They will not stop us exercising our right to highlight the bigotry of these marches and one-sided heavy-handedness of the RUC.
Over 100 plastic bullets were fired during subsequent rioting with several people injured by the indiscriminate firing by the RUC. Water cannon were also deployed in an attempt to push the residents back before the loyalists were escorted through by their historical protectors.
RUC chief constable Matt Baggott described the nationalists' reaction to the unwanted sectarian coat trailing as "recreational rioting". Being on the receiving end of batons, plastic bullets and stinking water from the cannon, would not be anyone's idea of "recreation".
It is time for this, and all other unwanted sectarian parades, to be stopped. Republican Sinn Féin will continue to support the communities blighted by these marches. No amount of rhetoric from the RUC, the Brits or their Stormont minions can hide the fact that nationalists do not want these parades forced through their communities and the consequences that ensue from the bully boy tactics of the Crown police.