Republicans to oppose military veterans’ rally in Belfast city centre

Poster advertising the veterans' rally in Belfast city centre
Poster advertising the veterans' rally in Belfast city centre
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All “republicans, socialists and anti-imperialists” have been urged to protest against a military veterans’ rally in support of ‘Soldier F’ in Belfast city centre on April 27.

In a post on Facebook, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) said the ‘Paras Fight Back’ gathering in support of the ex-paratrooper – who due to stand trial for murder over the deaths of two men on Bloody Sunday in 1972 – must be opposed.

Advertising the joint venture between the Paras Fight Back group and the NI Crown Forces Veterans for Justice (NICFV), an online poster states: “We demand that the British government enact protective legislation, to safeguard British military and police personnel, whilst they are engaged in the defence of our country and its people. This must cover past, present and future deployments.”

A NICFV spokeswoman told the News Letter that “enough is enough” and that hundreds of veterans are expected to support the protest.

“It’s not just about the ‘Soldier F’ case from Bloody Sunday – there are five veterans currently facing charges and many, many more on the way,” she said.

“And then with the HIU [Historical Inquiries Unit] they will be going after the RUC. The pressure needs to be kept on. We hold our politicians responsible and definitely the British government,” the spokeswoman added.

In response, the IRSP said: “There shall be no hiding place for Britain’s war criminals on the streets of Ireland.”

Meanwhile, a planned motorcycle ride through Belfast on April 12 in support of Soldier F appeared to have been postponed or cancelled.

Details of the protest event, which was due to set off from Connswater and finish with a rally at the gates of Stormont estate, are no longer on the website of the Parades Commission.

Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney said such a demonstration would be an “affront to grieving families” affected by the actions of troops on Bloody Sunday and to the Ballymurphy families.