Time To Decide!

Here is a selection of anti-Protocol placards from the Caw, Londonderry and Newbuildings. Above: a PSNI officer with a Sinn Féin badge – “PSNI – destroying the loyalist community since 4th Nov. 2001. In the pocket of Sinn Féin.” (November 4th, 2001 is the date the PSNI was created.) For the farmer’s wife protecting the farm, see Deserted, well I can stand alone. Below: “Newbuildings says No to Irish Sea border”, “Loyalist Newbuildings will never accept a border in the Irish Sea”, “The Belfast Agreement has been broken – the deal’s off”, and “Our forefathers fought for our freedom and rights/No border in the sea or we continue the fight”.

For similar placards in Moygashel, see Belfast Agreement Null And Void.

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Just Don’t

“Do not vax” and “Don’t join the PSNI”. “Do not vax” is a coronavirus conspiracy theory, related to What We Want You To Think, We Want A Free Future and also 5G Kills You and A Tale Of Two Protests.

The Lasair Dhearg board takes the “poster officer” from the 2021 recruitment campaign and puts them against a backdrop of riot officers firing plastic bullets. “17 people have been killed by plastic bullets, including 8 children.” “It is believed that the PSNI retain a stockpile of over 50,000 deadly plastic bullets.” The British state does not use plastic bullets anywhere but occupied Ireland.” “The PSNI is not a normal police force.” Here is the 2021 Amnesty report on the use of water cannon and “Attenuating Energy Projectiles” in the north. In November, relatives of Carol Ann Kelly went to Stormont to call for an end to the use of plastic bullets (BelTel).

The Sinn Féin board appears to involve stock photography, as we have noted before in Will This Work For You?

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Belfast Butchery

“Belfast Pogroms 1920-1922.” Against the backdrop of the first Dáil, the War Of Independence, and the debate in Westminster over the fourth Home Rule bill (it would be passed in November 1920), northern Protestants began to assert their de facto independence from the rest of Ireland – both in economic and in military terms.

On July 12th, 1920, Edward Carson spoke to a crowd in Derry and, addressing the government in Westminster, said “if you are yourself unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help; well, then, we tell you we will take the matter into our own hands.” (Treason Felony). Nine days later, the “clearings” of Catholics from Belfast shipyards and mills began, with about 5,700 Catholics and 1,850 socialists (“rotten Prods“) being expelled from Workman Clark and Harland & Wolff yards, and in total 10,000 workers from yards and mills over the next two weeks (History Ireland). In combination with the straitened economic circumstances of the time (post WWI) thousands (23,140 according to this mural, which reproduces a flyer derived from the Irish News of October 6th, 1920 – via The Irish Story’s account of the start of the “Belfast Pogrom”) were on relief.

Militarily, in October, 1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary was established (drawing on members of the Ulster Volunteers, which had been reconstituted in June 1920, and the 21,000 members of the Ulster Imperial Guards (WP)) as an alternative to the Royal Irish Constabulary in fighting actions by the IRA in Belfast, Derry, and elsewhere in the north. On March 23rd, 1922, two officers of the Specials were killed in Belfast city centre by the IRA. In reprisal, two Catholic civilians were killed in the Short Strand, and in the early hours of March 24th, a party of five men, four dressed in RIC uniforms, burst into the home of Catholic businessman Owen McMahon and shot McMahon, his six sons, and one of his employees – only two of the sons survived. District Inspector John Nixon of the RIC was suspected of leading the attack on the McMahon household – see The RIC Murder Gang and Pat And Dan Duffin. (The headlines are from the Freeman’s Journal of March 25th, 1922 – see Joe Baker’s 80-page account of the murders of summer 1922; the photograph of the McMahon corpses that is reproduced in the mural can be seen at Slugger.)

This is the first half a new mural in Ascaill Ard Na bhFeá; the “1922” part will be presented tomorrow.

“Belfast Expelled Workers – How Carsonism has disgraced Belfast – Help from all quarters of the globe for victims of sh[a]meful pogrom – Drain on Ex[p]elled Workers[‘] Relief Fund. Total number of expelled workers registered – 8,104; Applications for registrations yesterday – 500; Average number of persons receiving relief daily – 23,140.”

“Belfast Butchery – Horrif[y]ing story of massacre of McMahon family – Dying man[‘]s declaration – Murderers dressed in police uniform and spoke with Belfast accents.”

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Norman Anderson

RUC Constable Norman Anderson was set upon and executed in 1961 by the IRA on the Fermanagh border as he returned from visiting his Co Monaghan girlfriend (SEFF) but he and his family hailed from Larne and he is remembered by the Constable Anderson Memorial flute band (emblem below), which was formed in the same year (Fb), and the Auld Boys (emblem above). These are two of three flute bands in the Factory area of Larne, along with the Clyde Valley flute band – see The Gunrunners.

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The Sleeping Giant Has Awoken

Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor (near Honolulu, Hawaii) on December 7th, 1941. Even before the USA announced its consequent entry into WWII, Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto wondered if the effect of the attack would be “to awaken the sleeping giant and to fill him with terrible resolve”. In the case of today’s images, the sleeping giant is a lion, and the lion is the UVF 1st East Antrim, with units not just in Larne, Ballyduff, Ballyclare, Greenisland, Glengormley, Monkstown, Rathcoole, Carrickfergus, and Whitehead, but in Drumchapel (Glasgow, Scotland), Springburn (Glasgow, Scotland), Possilpark (Glasgow, Scotland), Paisley (Scotland), Falkirk (Scotland), Liverpool (England), Blackpool (England), Corby (England), and Blairgowrie (Scotland). Balaclava’d men with ArmaLites stand ready: “Our forefathers fought for our freedom & rights/No border in the sea or we continue the fight.”

The combination of a free-floating Northern Ireland with Britain (in the first image, above) is rare in muraling, but necessitated by Brexit and the Protocol.

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Justice For Eddie Meenan

The trial has begun, before Londonderry Crown Court, of three men accused of the murder of Eddie Lynch, who was stabbed 40-50 times in November, 2018 (Derry Journal | BBC). The graffiti above is on the electrical box at the bottom of Fahan Street, next to a Lasair Dhearg (web) ‘Don’t join the PSNI’ poster (shown below), with the Che Guevara Lynch mural visible on the left.

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Bullets Travel Also Through Time

“South Belfast – time for truth – exposing collusion – Ormeau Road – ‘Bullets do not only travel distance but also through time'” [Based on a quote by James Kennedy’s father: “The bullets that killed James didn’t just travel in distance, they travelled in time. Some of those bullets never stop travelling.” (Irish Times)]

Police Ombudsman Marie Andersons’s report into various murders and attempted murders in south Belfast was released yesterday (February 7th, 2022) and presented a list of “collusive behaviours” between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries. Among the incidents investigated was the killing of five people “murdered for their faith” at the Sean Graham bookies’ office on the Ormeau Road in February 5th, 1992; the report found that one of the two UDA gunmen was a Special Branch informant and that a Browning pistol used in the attack had been supplied by the RUC (as had previously been revealed in the 2010 HET Inquiry report) and that records relating to the weapon had been withheld from investigators (Irish Times | Belfast Live). For the 30th anniversary, relatives of the five men killed and of five more who were injured displayed their portraits next to the small memorial garden, which itself was updated to mark the third decade since their deaths: “1992-2022” (Belfast Live).

The plaque on the far left is to Charles Jospeh McGrillen, shot by the UDA/UFF in 1988 at his work in Dunne’s on the Annadale embankment (Sutton). Next to the bookies’ parlour is a plaque to Fian Jim Templeton.

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Stop PSNI Harassment

“Stop PSNI harassment of the loyalist community” The PSNI were attacked on Wednesday by youths who blocked Lanark Way (site of this sticker), following a small protest against the NI Protocol. Belfast Live ran a live-blog of the events. Police later suggested that the young people were organised by older people in the community in an attempt to increase tension over the Protocol (Belfast Live) and the threatened collapsing of Stormont by the DUP (BelTel). They were also attacked from the Springfield Road side (BelTel).

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Alter Ego

“PSNI Out” is the latest message on Sliabh Dubh from Gael Force Art, mounted in response to what it sees as disparate treatment of nationalists – intruding, ostensibly on Covid-related grounds, upon a flower-laying ceremony in commemoration of the attack on the Sean Graham bookies shop on the Ormeau Road (Feb 5th, 1992) and arresting one of the victims, Mark Sykes (RTÉ) – and unionists – PSNI monitoring but not confronting a UVF show of strength in Pitt Park (iTV). Michelle O’Neill called the Ormeau incident “a watershed moment for public confidence in policing” (Irish News); one officer has been suspended. The writing on the mountain is seen here over the Captain America panel of the wall of superheroes, enhanced versions of their human alter egos: Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Clark Kent, etc.

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The New Normal

“Community warning. This area is being monitored for antisocial behaviour. Your behaviour has consquences. Think of your community. Don’t do anything you might later regret. This sign was amended by Lasair Dhearg [web | tw] as part of our campaign against imperialism and PSNI normalisation.” The substitute version is from the Fall Road, the original (below) is from Ballysillan Road.

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