Socialist Worker

Riots erupt around annual festival of anti-Catholic bonfire celebrations

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2613

The bonfires are covered in anti-Catholic slogans

The bonfires are covered in anti-Catholic slogans (Pic: Rebel Alternative Telly)


Rioting broke out around the annual expression of sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

The huge bonfires with anti-Catholic slogans are lit before a series of parades on 12 July.

Fighting broke out after Belfast council demanded a reduction in the size of some bonfires—not because they had signs saying “Kill All Taigs [Catholics]” on them, but because they were dangerous.

Around £400,000 a year goes in council grants in Belfast alone to fund “community” events around the burning of such bonfires.

One group linked to Loyalist paramilitaries, the Belfast South Community Resources, is getting £26,000.

As the council put it, “The Good Relations Action Plan is to promote the positive expression of culture.”

So your union jack bunting and bouncy castle for the hate crime that is the 12 July celebrations is paid in part from council funds.

Last year thousands of the pallets used to build the fires were stored by Belfast council.

This only came to light when Loyalist paramilitaries stole them to use for their favoured bonfires.

Propping

The people propping up Theresa May’s government in the Democratic Unionist Party ensure money goes to Orange institutions.

The Orange Order is backed by millions of pounds from the Northern state.

The purpose of the Orange marches is to instil fear into Catholics and intimidate them.

They also oppose those Protestants who reject the idea that Catholics are inferior.

The violence of the British-backed Northern Ireland state provoked a quarter of a century of open conflict.

Peace has brought Protestant and Catholic workers closer together in poverty while dividing them politically on sectarian lines.

Police fired plastic bullets at rioters in Derry, where at least 74 petrol bombs were thrown last Thursday. Hundreds of people rioted over a number of nights, and some attacked the mainly Protestant area of Derry.

Shots were fired at police.

Gerry Adams, the former Sinn Fein president, saw his home attacked with explosives on Friday night.

The police and Adams said dissident republicans were responsible. The People Before Profit party issued a statement calling for an end to the violence.

It said, “It has emerged within a context of some 18 months of rising sectarian tension, orchestrated by those at the top of society.

“Establishment politicians who have increasingly stoked division—but who now wag the finger at people involved in sectarian violence—have to take their share of the blame for creating tensions, which invariably lead to conflict.”

For the full statement go to bit.ly/PBPtwelfth

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