This year Belfast saw its largest pro-choice demonstration when about a thousand people took to the streets for the Rally for Choice. This was a significant achievement and to mark it we’ve put together this brief documentary featuring footage from the march, some of the speakers and interviews with both organisers and participants.
It is all but impossible, both in theory and in practice, to legally obtin an abortion on the island of Ireland, both north and south of the imaginary border that divides this island. It is completely impossible to safely and legally obtain an abortion anywhere in Ireland; the legal framework in the south specifically requires that in order to obtain an abortion without being criminalised for so doing, the woman who needs it must be ill enough to die; thus it is rendered impossible for her to be safe in access to legal abortion.
News broke on the 19th June that a Belfast woman is to stand trial for helping her daughter procure an abortion. In response on 24th June a letter was handed in signed by 215 abortion activists admitting that they are guilty of breaking the law by either taking or helping someone procure the Early Medical Abortion (EMA) pill.
Alliance for Choice Belfast has organised this action in solidarity with the woman charged. A similar action occurred in 2013 when 100 people signed a letter admitting to doing the same thing this woman has done and not a single person who signed the letter was contacted by police.
Around 30 Republican prisoners continue to engage in a ‘dirty protest’ in Maghaberry prison over the failure of the Northern Ireland Administration and the Prison Officers Association to implement a facilitated agreement reached between all parties last August. This is part of a wider criminalisation policy to punish, brutalize and isolate prisoners which includes regular beatings and strip-searching - which remains the outstanding issue to be resolved. Similarly to the 1980/81 prison struggles, the prisoners are simply asking for their rights and dignity to be respected.
The 9th Belfast anarchist bookfair takes place this weekend 14 October - 16 October with the main bookfair events being at the Black Box 19-22 Hill Street, on Saturday from 11.30am to 5pm. On Friday night there are events at Just Books 22 Berry Street, Belfast
The Dublin Anarchist Black Cross was in attendance of this year's anti-internment march in Belfast on the 7th August. Prior to the march taking place the state put a block on the march from going ahead refusing to give the march organisers permission to march. This block did not deter people from coming out in support of the march and come out in solidarity with political prisoners in prisons in Ireland.
Over 1,000 people marched from the Busy Bee in Andersonstown in west Belfast, down the Falls Road towards Belfast City Hall. When the march reached the end of the Falls Road the Police had the road blocked with a line/siege of armored Jeeps and armed police preventing the march from reaching its destination.
Have you been noticing pro-choice graffiti around Belfast recently? There has been a massive increase in the amount of political propaganda around Belfast the past few weeks, which has most likely been inspired by the recent criminalisation of a young woman for having an illegal abortion here; something that many women are forced to do.
Our reporter talked to some of the people involved.
"It’s important to strike every blow we can against things as they stand, no matter how small the blow provided the outcome is bigger than the input.
We are constantly subjected to sexist advertising on billboards and outside shops and religious propaganda on buses, it is only right that we take back the city to display our demands, and our messages.
Belfast saw a fantastic Rally for Choice march July 2nd 2016 - by far the biggest pro- choice demonstration in the north in many years, perhaps ever.
Despite being organised on a shoe string is was also bigger than the annual anti - choice march. Even though the organizers of that have access to so much money they had billboard vans driving around the city advertising their event.
We have mobilised for and will be covering the Belfast Rally for Choice today via on Facebook and Twitter accounts. Below is a last minute message from the organisers.
Today we march, and today they march.
For the first time on this island there will be mass mobilisations of the pro choice movement and the anti choice movement.
This is a personal account from a member who was recently subjected to a sexist, homophobic attack. This post mentions male violence, anti-choice mentality, and the toxicity of masculinity.
Toxic masculinity has been a trending topic of discussion lately with the case of Brock Turner who raped an unconscious woman and received a meagre 3 months in jail for his atrocious crime, and the homophobic Orlando shooting committed by Omar Mateen a week ago which claimed the lives of 49 people and injured over 50.