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Update on IWD 2014 disruption


WRDA and WOMEN’STEC recently met with the PSNI to discuss the management of the policing around the International Women’s Day Parade 2014, which both helped organise as part of women’s collective Reclaim the Agenda (RTA).

The rally, staged by RTA in March, was attended by hundreds of women and men. However, its success was somewhat marred by persistent attempts at disruption, including sabotage of the sound system and verbal abuse of the speakers by a large number of flag protestors.

WOMEN’STEC and WRDA expressed their concerns over the way police handled the incidents to Sergeant Sharon Cromie and Chief Inspector Robert Murdie, who is area commander for Belfast. It was a very productive meeting.

Chief Inspector Murdie said that prior to the parade, the police had assurances from local community representatives that there would be no trouble, but clearly the number of protesters had been underestimated. The PSNI had also been unaware that Anna Lo and Lord Mayor were to speak, which led to them getting the level of policing wrong. He accepted that the IWD rally had the legal authority to be there and was wholly apologetic.

An official letter of apology will now be issued to RTA and regular communication will be maintained with Sergeant Cromie from this point onwards. WRDA and the other members of RTA are looking forward to staging an entirely incident free rally next year.

To read a more detailed take on the rally disruption, check out this comment piece for Open Democracy by our Director Anne McVicker.
  
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