Top Issue 1-2024

22 February 2001 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Back issue: Welcome morale boost


The first march organised by the National H-Block/Armagh Committee last Sunday in Belfast, in the renewed campaign to achieve the prisoners' five demands proved to be a welcome morale boost for all those attending. Fears that a degree of apathy or demoralisation had set in since the ending of the last humger strike were dispelled both by the size and the air of militancy which marked the demonstration.

Original plans to march down the Falls Road to the city centre were curtailed at the last moment as a mark of sympathy for the young victims of Dublin's Stardust fire tragedy. Instead, a brief rally was held outside the Dunville Park, where several thousand people listened to short speeches and held two minutes' silence for Dublin's dead.

The sympathy of the rally for those victims of the fire tragedy in Dublin the day before was reflected by rally chairperson Maura McCrory, who expressed condolences to all the relatives and passed on a similar message from the H Block prisoners to the bereaved families.

Both speeches, by Joe Stagg (National H-Block/Armagh Committee) and Christy McKenna (Youth against H-Block./Armagh) stressed that this was only the first march in the campaign, and that people should stay on the streets and support every march, particularly the 1 March demonstration - the day the coming hunger strike begins.

As the meeting broke up, several hundred young men and women launched a brief but intense assault on Springfield Road barracks, some of them clambering up wire fencing to place three tricolours high on the building. The RUC and Brits retaliated with water hoses in a confrontation that lasted 20 minutes

As the crowd dispersed both Brits and RUC emerged from the barracks in an attempt to capture young rioters and engage in further confrontation. However, their provocative saturation of the Falls Road for a period and their firing of plastic bullets proved of no avail and they later returned to barracks, leaving the Falls Road in peace.

If this first march is indicative of a general mood, the nationalist people are prepared to confront Britain once more in defence of our political prisoners, and in defence of our right to national liberation.

An Phoblacht, 21 February 1981

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1