Bloody Sunday 2015 – IRPWA march in Derry
The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association took to the streets of Derry in solidarity with the families of the Bloody Sunday victims and to highlight the ongoing torture of Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry. Members and supporters carried placards highlighting the issues affecting Republican Prisoners and distributed leaflets which briefly outlined the issues of Controlled Movement; Forced Strip Searches; Isolation; and the use of Internment by Remand.
During the march a relative of a Republican Prisoner in Maghaberry took a phone call from her loved one. Such was the importance of what the prisoner had to say; the relative handed the phone over to a member of the IRPWA.
The Republican Prisoner spoke of the ongoing attempts by the jail administration to debase and disempower Republican Political Prisoners (see Republican Prisoners recent statement 30/01/15) and the ongoing lockdowns they’ve had to endure over the last number of days. The IRPWA representative (a former Republican Prisoner who had experienced the Maghaberry regime) could sense that the situation was very tense. The nature of the conversation changed when the RPP relayed his on the spot observations to the IRPWA representative: The riot squad had just entered the wing …the conversation ended there, as the RPP had a more immediate and pressing situation to deal with.
Republican Political Prisoners fought long and hard to remove the notorious riot squad from their wing; any redeployment of these people on to Republican landings will inevitably lead to further conflict.
The theme of the Bloody Sunday march in Derry was “Resist”. Republican Political Prisoners will always resist any attempt to criminalise them but they should not have to do it alone. Today in Derry, the IRPWA, through its activism, showed that it was prepared to stand with Republican Prisoners and resist current British jail policy. However, more needs to be done.
The IRPWA call on all our members and activists to redouble our efforts in the weeks and months that lie ahead.