Peace Bridge Gaza protest to continue despite refusal

The Peace Bridge, Derry. (DER3413PG003)

The Peace Bridge, Derry. (DER3413PG003)

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The Derry Anti-War Coalition have refused to cancel a protest on the Peace Bridge, despite Ilex saying the event cannot go ahead.

A spokeswoman for Derry’s urban regeneration company said that no-one from the coalition had approached them over the plans to stage the human chain protest along the bridge.

Gaza under attack

Gaza under attack

She also said that despite several attempts to contact the organisers, they have been unable to do so.

The Ilex representative said that the event did not fit with the policy for usage, adding that there were also health and safety considerations.

The march was announced by DAWC earlier this week, with those attending asked to “bring banners, Palestinian flags and other symbols of support for the tiny enclave currently under air, land and sea assault”.

Coalition spokeswoman Goretti Horgan said that it was “ridiculous” that an anti-violence, peaceful protest was not allowed on the city’s Peace Bridge.

She also said that the coalition had no plans to call off the event, scheduled for 2pm on Saturday.

Speaking to the Journal, Ms Horgan said: “It was agreed we would do it as this is a Peace Bridge and because the people of Derry have experience of conflict, and we wanted to use our Peace Bridge to help bring some peace to the people of Gaza.

“There have been some other not so serious things on the bridge so the idea that a peace demonstration could not be held on the Peace Bridge is just wrong and messed up. Why call it a Peace Bridge if it cannot be used for peaceful demonstrations?”

She also questioned who Ilex were to tell local people what they can and cannot do in a public space.

Ilex policy for third party usage dictates that both Ebrington and the Peace Bridge “will not be regarded as a site for commemoration”, but can be used to host events celebrating diversity, on the provision that they are “run in an equitable manner, which encourages inclusion, interdependence, respect and understanding.”

It also states that the sites will not be made available for events which “facilitate the inappropriate display of flags and/ or emblems”.