16 October 2008 Edition

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Liverpool marchers defy racist and sectarian abuse

 OVER 500 marchers and four marching bands attended the annual James Larkin March  and Rally through Liverpool City Centre on Saturday 11 October 2008.
The event, organised by the James Larkin Society, also saw banners from the trade union movement and other Irish community and campaigning organisations.
The rally was addressed by senior republican and Chairperson of Sinn Féin’s Ulster executive Sean Murray.
Murray traced ‘Big Jim’ Larkin’s life of activism as a socialist, republican and trade unionist, and how what became known as ‘Larkinism’ contained all three of these elements – that the struggle was not just for a re-united Ireland, but for one with a new social order, with equality, workers’ rights and the ‘ownership of Ireland for the people of Ireland’ at it’s core.
Murray also addressed the current political crisis in the Six Counties, brought about by the DUP’s inability to grasp the concept of equality and to live up to their commitments. He made it clear that if the DUP wishes to hold and exert political power, it can only happen in partnership with Sinn Féin. To loud applause, he made it clear that the days of unionist rule – which had attacked the civil rights protesters 40 years ago – are gone, and gone forever.
The James Larkin Society thanked all those who made a positive contribution making a fitting tribute to Liverpool born Irish trade unionist, James Larkin.
In a statement to local media, however, they expressed their disappointment that as the parade made its way through Liverpool City Centre, participants on the march became the target of a sustained volley of racist and sectarian abuse by some members of Liverpool’s Orange/loyalist community, numbering between 40-50 individuals, which included women and children wearing loyalist emblems on t-shirts and other loyalist paraphernalia. Merseyside Police made seven arrests from the ranks of the racist protesters.
The statement continued:
“The James Larkin Society would like to thank all of those who participated in the march, which despite the unrelenting provocation responded in a dignified and respectful manner throughout the event. Such was the dignified response from the marchers that Merseyside Police thanked both the James Larkin Society and all participants and bands for ensuring that there was no retaliatory behaviour, despite the racist and sectarian nature of the abuse which included spitting.
The James Larkin Society would like to make it clear that the racist behaviour exhibited by members of the Orange/loyalist community in Liverpool only reinforces its belief that events such as yesterdays march and rally will continue and that the Irish community in Liverpool will not allow the actions of such bigots and racists to hinder its right to democratic protest and free speech.”

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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