Melbourne protest for freedom for Irish political prisoners

February 7, 2013
Gathering of James Connolly Association in Melbourne on January 26,

A branch of the James Connolly Association was established in Melbourne in November last year. The Association was formed in Australia in 2011 and is named after the Irish patriot who lived and died in defence of Irish socialist republicanism.

The aim of the association is to create awareness about the republican and socialist message among the Irish diaspora in Australia and the general public, to struggle for the restoration of political status for republican prisoners, to highlight the injustices inherent in British interference in Irish affairs, and as part of the broader Irish republican community to lobby for a British withdrawal from Ireland.

It campaigns for the right of Irish people to control Irish destinies, free from external interference, and support the ideal of an independent all-Ireland socialist republic.

Members of the Melbourne branch met at the Celtic Club on January 26 to unfurl a new banner and show support for the Free Marian Price campaign.

Marian Price, 57, is one of several Irish republican political prisoners currently being held in English jails. Price is a former republican volunteer, ex-political prisoner and hunger striker. She was given a royal pardon in 1980, but was rearrested in 2011 and put back in prison.

She was not convicted for any crime, but has been held in detention in solitary confinement for her attendance at a republican Easter rising commemoration rally in Derry and for holding up a piece of paper at that rally for a masked man while he read a message in April 2011.

There have been increasing concerns about Price’s health and several Irish political parties, including Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic Labour Party, have raised the matter.

Her continued imprisonment is a clear example of internment without trial and is an abuse of her human rights. The British government has no legal right to detain her in a high security prison and hold her indefinitely, as she is not guilty of any serious crime. The imprisonment of Price is clearly unjust and she should be immediately released.

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