Ireland: Border Demonstrations

Marcus L. Endicott (
Mon, 28 Dec 1992 17:42:25 -0800 (PST)

/* Written 2:55 am Dec 28, 1992 by in igc:pn.calendar */
/* ---------- "Border Demonstrations" ---------- */

On January 1st 1993 the European Community policy
of open borders across member states comes into effect.
However at least one border is being closed even tighter.
That is the border between the north and south of Ireland.
The border was imposed by Britain in the 1920's along an
unnatural boundary.
It was designed solely for the purpose of safeguarding
British rule in part of Ireland having failed to secure
the entire island under British rule.
The border, following no natural boundary cuts through
communities, farms and has even divided families.
The border region was once serviced by up to 300 roads
providing access to and from communities' natural hinderland.
Since the 1970's most of these crossings have been blown up
and closed by the British army, dividing communities and
causing serious hardship.
Since 1988 communities along the border, through their community
associations, reopened these roads, built bridges and reunited
their communities. These new roads and bridges are repeatedly
destroyed by the British army. One such crossing has been reopened
and destroyed 20 times.
The closure of these border roads causes detours of up to sixty miles
where people are forced to travel through British military posts.
At these posts people are regularly harassed, humiliated, and arrested.
In one instance a person was shot dead by British soldiers.
These posts pose a real threat to the community because of the
high levels of radiation emitted from surveillance equipment.
The posts have been sited beside houses and schools to protect
them against attacks from the IRA.
This basically amounts to a "human shield" policy which has been in use
long before the term became popular during the Gulf War.
This policy has resulted in the closure of a school in September 1992
because parents refused to allow their children to be used as shields.
The reopening of border roads has been continuing in a quiet
localized manner for nearly four years.
To highlight the efforts of these communities, to demand the
demilitarization of the border and to draw international attention
to this human rights issue an international day of action is being
organized on January 1st 1993 to coincide with the opening of borders
in other EC countries.
Twelve simultaneous events will be held to symbolize the 12 EC member states.
Six roads will be reopened.
Five protests will be held at border checkpoints.
A protest will be held in Crossmaglen, the area most affected
by radiation from military posts.

These events are being organized by local community associations
and human rights groups in each area and are being coordinated and
publicized by the Irish National Congress, a non-party political
organization working on issues of human and national rights.
All are invited to participate in this day of action by attending
one of the above events or by holding a symbolic protest at the
nearest British embassy or consulate.

For more info contact: the Irish National Congress
PO Box 2814, Dublin 7, Ireland
Tel: 011-353- 1 (or) 16- 821-0493
- 288-3798
Or contact your nearest Irish solidarity organization.
Call 802-863-6046 if you have no idea who to call.

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