Easter 2021 and it’s loyalists who are rising against British rule

Easter proclamation & loyalists ritoing
Support us and go ad-free

Between 24 and 30 April 1916, Irish republicans, socialists, and nationalists staged a rebellion against British rule in Ireland. They call it the Easter Rising. It was the beginning of the end for British rule in the south of Ireland.

Fast forward to Easter 2021 and it’s British loyalists and unionists who are in the midst of a rising of sorts. Because for the last few days, loyalists have been battling with police in Belfast, Derry, and other parts of the north of Ireland. And unionist leaders are taking the British government to court over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

While loyalists and unionists may not be rebelling against British rule as the women and men of 1916 did, their position is clear. They oppose the British government’s post-Brexit deal with the EU and they have no confidence in the PSNI‘s chief constable. And what also seems clear is, just as the British government has once again abandoned mainstream unionism, that brand of unionism has abandoned loyalists.

Let down again

It’s hardly the first time loyalists have been let down by unionism. Political commentator Joe Brolly referenced the words of David Irvine:

 

Two republican funerals. Two different outcomes.

Some blame current loyalist rioting on a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announcement. On 30 March, the PPS announced that no action would be taken against members of Sinn Féin who attended the funeral of the IRA’s former head of intelligence Bobby Storey. The funeral was in June 2020.

However, two other Irish republicans were prosecuted for attending a different funeral and doing pretty much the same thing as the Sinn Féin members. And it’s unclear why there’s a different approach to these two funerals. In any case, the PPS is reviewing the Storey decision.

They came onto the streets

It didn’t take long for the signs of loyalist discontent to spill on to the streets:

Loyalist violence has certainly increased since then and has spread across the north:

Where is loyalism at?

Despite a brief calm, the rioting continued:

And a war of words is also emerging:

We’ve been here before…

Some unionist leaders campaigned for Brexit. Despite that, they’re taking legal action against the protocol. And because of that protocol, loyalists chose to withdraw from the 1998 peace agreement.

Unionists reacted to the Bobby Storey decision but had little to say about the Irish republicans who are facing prosecution. And following the Storey decision, unionists’ words were clear. So, just as the British government has once again shafted mainstream unionism, they’re doing something similar to working class loyalists. It’s become all too familiar.

Featured image via Flickr – Óglaigh na hÉireannTwitter – BBCMarkSimpson

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us