14 May 1998 Edition
Councillor in Britain
Maghera Sinn Fein Councillor John Kelly has just returned from a short speaking tour of England organised by the Troops Out Movement.
At public meetings in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Birmingham and Leicester he said the Good Friday Agreement was not a document that Sinn Fein could sign up to, but represented a move towards the dismantling of the unionist state and would be used tactically by the party.
``We are not going to surrender, nor is it a sell-out,'' he said. ``It is another phase in the struggle towaerds a united Ireland. I believe we are on the right path and the wind of change is on our backs.
``We are going forward in a very strong, confident and united way. I can see it heralding the end of British rule in the Six Counties''.
While in Chesterfield, Councillor Kelly met local Labour MP Tony Benn, who has long campaigned for Britain's withdrawal from the Six Counties.
Mr Benn said the peace talks document was a transitional agreement and the first phase of British withdrawal from Ireland. It took power from the British Crown and gave it to the people of Ireland.
Police get tough on Fuascailt
After more than three years of peaceful monthly Fuascailt demonstrations outside Downing Street, the Metropolitan Police decided on Sunday 3 May that it was time to get heavy-handed with protesters. Fuascailt members were harassed, intimidated and threatened with arrest as they stood calling for the release of Irish political prisoners.
The police demanded that protesters remove their banners from the railings and to stop using a megaphone. When they refused - hardly surprisingly given that there has never been any objection to their use in the past - police officers demanded names and threatened people with arrest. When asked why this
behaviour was necessary, they said they were only obeying orders. However, the directive issued to them by the Events Department at Metropolitan Police HQ, seen by members of Fuascailt, said that use of the megaphone and banners was to be `discouraged' rather than refused outright as the police on duty were suggesting. The directive also said very explicitly that `there is no reason to expect any trouble from this group.'
Members of the group say they will be interested to see the reaction of the police at the June picket when protesters turn up, megaphone and banners in hand as usual.