Monday, 12 January 2009


The Young Greens took part in the Gaza Peace March on Saturday 10th January in Belfast. We marched to express our horror at the level of civilian deaths especially the depressing figures of near 300 dead children in Gaza.

We carried the white flags of peace and joined the thousands of people in Belfast in calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the violence that has killed so many innocents.

This was a peace march attended by thousands yet a small group of fanatics seeked to hijack the march. The Young Greens have criticized the actions of a small group who burned the Israeli flag during a rally in Belfast city centre.

The Green Party Youth Co-ordinator, QUB Greens co-chair Adam McGibbon said: “The actions of a few fanatics will distort the message of peace, which the rally was supposed to send out. Glorifying violence and burning flags, while it may give some people a cheap rush of adrenaline, only exacerbates the problem in the Middle East. You'd think that after 30 years of violence in our own country, all of us would know that political violence doesn't solve anything."

Among the speakers at the rally was Mieread Corrigan Maguire, founder of The Peace People and Nobel Laureate.

Speaking after the rally Mr. McGibbon said: “The vast majority of the people at the rally were there to represent a peaceful, principled stand for an end to the violence. However, a small minority took it upon themselves to burn Isreali flags and chant slogans such as "Victory to the Intifada" through a megaphone. Not only is this unhelpful and one-sided it is completely contradictory to the aims of the rally, which was a call for a ceasefire, not for more violence. I am very concerned at reports that Israelis who work in the city centre found the experience very intimidating. Remember these people came to Northern Ireland to escape violence.”

The QUB Greens do not wish to be associated with those groups who took part in these acts and hope that the thousands of peace activists voices are heard over the chants of those who wished to hijack the march.

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