Daily Ireland

Hundreds blockade Derry bridge artery

11 February 05

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More than 200 people blocked both decks of Craigavon Bridge in Derry yesterday in protest at the findings of the International Monitoring Commission.
The protest, which lasted for about 30 minutes, got underway after a meeting of republicans in the Brandywell area of the city.
Demonstrators brought traffic on the bridge to a halt at 5pm, where Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney voiced the frustration of republicans at the IMC and the current crisis in the peace process.
The protesters bore placards which said, “We are protesting against the anti-democratic actions of the IMC”; “Irish republicans will not be criminalised”; “342,000 voters aren’t wrong”.
“We decided that we would take our anger about this report to the streets, just as the people of Derry did in 1968,” Mr McCartney said.
“We’ve come onto the street to demand democracy and our rights and the right of the people to elect who they choose.
“There is a degree of inconvenience for the people here today but we are sure that they understand that this is short-lived.
The people here thought that anything else might be perceived as going through the motions, but this is real anger.”
The PSNI arrived on the scene just minutes before the protestors dispersed peacefully.
Meanwhile in Dungiven, Co Derry another republican protest also severely disrupted traffic. Local Sinn Féin activists blocked Dungiven Main Street last night causing rush hour chaos on the main Derry to Belfast road.
Some 50 members of Sinn Féin blocked the road but supporters and sympathisers soon swelled their numbers.
Paddy Butcher, a spokesman for Sinn Féin in East Derry, said, “The action was part of a protest right across the six counties from Derry to Belfast in response to the anti-democratic statement of the IMC.
“Republicans will not be criminalised and the mandate of 342,000 Irish men and women will not be ignored.
The IMC has in our opinion committed libel. Where is their evidence? How could anyone expect to receive a fair trial and due process of law in the face of such malicious speculation.
Mind you, yesterday’s apology by Tony Blair to the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven was a timely reminder to all Irishmen of what a fair trial means under British jurisdiction.
Will Blair be facing cameras again in the future for destroying the peace process by allowing innocent people to be tried, judged and sentenced in the media without a shred of evidence?”

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