Daily Ireland

Ex-prisoners protest at SDLP event

Ten republican ex-prisoners picketed Saturday’s SDLP conference in Derry, bearing photographs of the ten 1981 hunger strikers.
Organised by Tar Abhaile, the Derry-based support group for former political prisoners, Saturday’s protest was designed to question the SDLP’s condemnation of republicans as criminals.
Those involved had previously taken part in the protests at Armagh jail and Long Kesh during the 1970s and early 1980s.
They carried a banner that read, “Are these men criminals?”
A spokesperson for Tar Abhaile said, “From 1976 to 1981, the British government tried to criminalise the republican struggle.
“At that time, we stood shoulder to shoulder in the H-blocks of Long Kesh and in Armagh prison and we resisted all attempts to criminalise us. We received support throughout Ireland and beyond.
“In 1981, ten of our comrades and friends died on hunger strike to protect our rights as political prisoners.
“Today we stand here to remind those within the leadership of the SDLP that we will resist all attempts to criminalise republicans and demean the memory and legacy of our ten comrades.”

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