Being the Easter weekend in Ireland, a large number of commemorative events are taking place around the country to mark the commencement of the 1916-21 Irish Revolution. Unfortunately one of those gatherings has been marred by violence when officers of the PSNI, the United Kingdom’s armed police force in the north-east of the island, swooped in to arrest several members of a Republican Sinn Féin colour party marching at Lurgan, County Armagh. One elderly woman was hospitalised and a number of others suffered minor cuts and bruises during the brief mêlée. Up to nine people were detained in custody.
As regular readers know, I’m no fan of RSF or its fundamentalist republican politics, but there was certainly no need for this kind of action by the UK’s supposedly reformed gendarmerie in the Six Counties. The excuse that the parade was an illegal event is highly questionable given the much-discussed failure of the PSNI to intervene in a recent and very public show of strength staged in Bangor by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the notorious pro-British terrorist organisation and former cutting-edge of Britain’s counterinsurgency war during the so-called Troubles. Rather than make things better at a period of Brexit-worsened tensions, Saturday’s events have further undermined the confidence of some northern nationalists in an increasingly isolated and antagonistic police force while raising celebratory comments from a number of reactionary unionist politicians.
(Original video clips via Twitter and @ConnlaYoung at the Irish News.)