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6 November 1997 Edition

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Saoirse sit on City Hall

Three members of Sinn Fein Youth were arrested following a highly successful protest at Belfast City Hall, this Monday 3 November. The protest calling for the release of political prisoners was organised in conjunction with Saoirse, the political prisoners campaign group.

At 11.30am the three youths, dressed as painters, and equipped with ladders and banners, walked into the grounds of City Hall. They scaled the front of the building, occupying the domed porte-cochere, which sits above the entrance to the historic building.

Within minutes a large crowd of onlookers stood at the gates to City Hall. By 12.30 the press outnumbered the public.

Despite continued attempts by the RUC to convince the protestors to come down from the roof, the Sinn Fein Youth activists remained until they were satisfied that the protest had made its point, and decended voluntarily.

On the ground the three youths were arrested and taken to Antrim Road RUC barracks, where they were charged with public order offences, and bailed to appear in court on 1 December.

Saoirse spokeperson Martin Meehan said, ``today's protest was a great success, it has raised the issue of political prisoners once again and made it clear that their release is an essential part of the peace process.''


In a sinister development one of the protestors, Eoin O'Broin, after having been discharged, was approached by two unidentified males while still on the grounds of the RUC barracks, and asked to attend a meeting in private. When asked to identify themselves, the men refused, but indicated they were `police' with a special interest in O'Broin.
``They mentioned a series of details about my work and political life, and said that they were taking a keen interest in my recent activities,'' O Broin said. ``When I asked them what they wanted they just said that they wanted a ``chat'' and that if I ever needed to talk or get out of trouble then I knew where they were. When I asked for their names and numbers, I was refused''.

Commenting on the incident Martin Meehan said, ``the RUC have once again shown their true colours in trying to harass and bribe our young people. This was obviously an attempt to recruit the man in question to become an informer, and thankfully one that failed. Is this not contrary to the spirit of the peace process which we are all working so hard to build?''


Next week: Full report of Sinn Féin Youth Winter School and Conference


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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