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International - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

March For Marian Price on International Women's Day

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | event notice author Thursday February 14, 2013 10:58author by BrianClarke - AllVoices Report this post to the editors

On the 4th of January, 1969 Irish civil rights protesters from People's Democracy which included the Price sisters suffered a brutal attack from around 200 lyalists armed with iron bars, bottles and stones at Burntollet Bridge in a march from Belfast to Derry. It is an important day in history in that for many, in that it was the start of the troubles in Ireland with a number of young women savagely beaten which included the price sisters. Beaten into the river, it was a baptism of fire for the two young teenagers.
 March For Marian Price on International  Women's  Day
March For Marian Price on International Women's Day

The march was repeatedly attacked by loyalists including off-duty members of the British forces along its route.The march was based on the Selma-Montgomery march in Alabama in 1966, which had exposed the racist thuggery of America's deep South and forced the US government into major reforms. This march exposed the the deep rooted sectarianism of British mentored loyalism which is still, vindictively, politicall, interning Marian. The following are some marchers recounting their experiences.

"Available police forces did not provide adequate protection to People's Democracy marchers at Burntollet Bridge and in or near Irish Street, Londonderry (sic) on 4th January 1969. There were instances of police indiscipline and violence towards persons unassociated with rioting or disorder on 4th/ 5th January in Londonderry (sic) and these provoked serious hostility to the police, particularly among the Catholic population of Londonderry (sic), and an increasing disbelief in their impartiality towards non-Unionists.
"Loyalists viewed the People's Democracy and the march as another attempt to undermine the Unionist government of Northern Ireland. A number of leading Loyalists, including Ronald Bunting and Ian Paisley, had indicated in advance of the march that they would be calling on 'the Loyal citizens of Ulster' to 'harrass and harry' the four-day march.

"On each day of the march groups of Loyalists confronted, jostled, and physically attacked those taking part in the march. At no time did the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), who were accompanying the march, make any effort to prevent these attacks. The most serious incidents occurred on the last day between Claudy and Derry. The march was ambushed at Burntollet Bridge by approximately 200 Loyalists, including off-duty members of the 'B-Specials', and 13 marchers required hospital treatment. The march was again attacked as it passed through the Waterside area of Derry. Later in the evening members of the RUC attacked people and property in the Bogside area of Derry sparking several days of serious rioting.

"The way in which the police mishandled the People's Democracy march confirmed the opinion of many Catholics that the RUC could not be trusted to provide impartial policing in Northern Ireland. The events also further alienated many in the Catholic population from the Northern Ireland state. The march also marked the point where concerns about civil rights were beginning to give way to questions related to national identity and the constitutional position of Northern Ireland."

"The repeated refrain 'up to our knees in Fenian blood' seemed a little ominous to me" - Eddie Toman

"I saw people, including one man who was standing with an armful of stones against his chest on the lower ground to the left of the field. Suddenly, I heard screams coming from behind, and looking around saw a shower of stones in the air. The march scattered in some panic; then I saw a girl being put onto a police tender with blood pouring from her head. Then I saw a television cameraman with blood streaming down his face" - John Gilmore, Belfast student

"The major portion of the C.R. procession was cut off and left at the mercy of the attackers. A fusillade of stones and bottles was followed by the full weight of the attack against the young men and women who had pledged themselves to a policy of non-violence.

"The attackers showed no mercy. Men were beaten senseless. Girls tore their way through the hedges screaming: 'No! No!' Shouting, club-waving, men pursued them." -Description from the Irish News of the time.

"I saw the police moving through the fields, and then I saw the first attacker wearing a white armband. Then I began to see other men wearing similar armbands standing in groups on high ground along the road. I remember then dismissing the idea that the attackers would simply be angry groups of locals annoyed at demonstrators passing through their village. My impression now was that the attack was well organised, and the armbands were for recognition purposes.

"By now the field seemed crowded with men and youths, perhaps 100 or 150. I saw some women and girls, too, among the people in the field. I saw the police marshalling a girl along in the field. She carried two milk bottles in her hand. Then I saw the first stone come whizzing through the air and remember shouting to the people near me to get in against the hedge. In a second the air was thick with missiles. I pulled my coat up around my head and crouched down, stumbling forward. There was utter confusion as girls screamed, and stones and bottles crashed around. I kept my head down but on once looking up I saw another large group of men with cudgels and sticks running onto the road ahead of us.

"There was tremendous confusion as people stumbled and grabbed each other for cover and protection." - Teacher

"I then saw a girl with a white, furry hat being confronted by a Paisleyite with a wooden club. The hat was taken off and she received two blows each followed by blood." - Cohn Moore from Belfast

"Showers of rocks crashed round us. I was in the middle of the fourth row and bent double in an attempt to avoid the hail of missiles, when a middle-aged man in a tweed coat, brandishing what seemed to be a chair leg dashed from the left-hand side of the road, hit me on the back, then pulled down the hood of my anorak and struck me on the head. I then tried to crawl away, but, teeth bared, he hit me again on the spot on my skull . . . I fell, and a fellow marcher picked me up and dragged me up the road; I passed out, and came round in the ambulance on the way to Alnagelvin Hospital" -Mrs. Judith McGuffin, a schoolteacher from Belfast

"I passed through the hail of stones, being hit only once on the leg. When we crossed the bridge I turned back because my three sons were in the march, and I wanted to find them. Standing on the side of the bridge to the marchers' left, was a large, middle-aged, well dressed man, leaning against the bridge wall quite casually. As a line of marchers passed he whipped what seemed like a police baton out of his overcoat pocket and smashed it on the back of the nearest marcher. Boys and girls went down, one after another" - Mrs. Margaret Tracey, a fifty-four year-old housewife, Dungiven.

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Caption: Dolores Price. IRA Freedom Fighter

author by Bobbypublication date Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Any women involved in organising this? Any contacts with women's groups?

author by AchuslaClarke - AllVoicespublication date Fri Feb 15, 2013 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Chara,

Perhaps if you contact the twitter account below, with a direct message, they can help you.


Journalist from Coalisland, currently working for Media Wales in Cardiff. Twitter: @brendanhughes64

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author by Bobbypublication date Fri Feb 15, 2013 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't use any info-gathering/corporate websites like twitter or facebook

author by Brian Clarke - AllVoicespublication date Sat Feb 16, 2013 01:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Chara,

I was simply trying to be helpful and it is possible to use those sites anonymously. I refuse to allow anyone, drive what is a perfectly legitimate protest underground. That is one of the main purposes of internment, along with creating paranoia and reactionary violence in an area that is of basic human rights.These are useful tools for anyone hoping to build a broad front. There has been enough whispering campaigns in the past, in what is a perfectly legitimate human rights issue.

I do understand your concerns about Twitter and Facebook and there is truth in what you say but they can be very effective tools for any organizer, used intelligently. While we all need to be prudent, progressive politics for me, does not allow fear to dictate my activity, whether it comes from within our own ranks or from state terrorism. I have nothing to hide and I refuse to kneel to the threat of political internment. I'm quite certain from Ireland's history, that there are plenty of Irish women out there who are fearless and will not be bullied by John Bull.

Is mise le meas,

brion o'cleirigh

The Guineapigs by John McGuffin
The Guineapigs by John McGuffin

Caption: Bernadette McAliskey Speech Bloody Sunday March 2013

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author by Bobbypublication date Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For me it's not about fear, it's about my personal security, and the security of my closest comrades.

Anyway, I really hope the march goes well, it's a sad state of affairs.

author by BrianClarke - AllVoicespublication date Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Right so ! Lets go back to smoke signals ? Do you not think, that Ireland has had more than enough of its nudge, nudge, wink, wink, politics over the years and that is largely responsible for the mess we are in ! There is nothing to hide or be ashamed of when campaigning on behalf of Human rights. Twitter is an excellent tool, if used wisely to build a movement as it has done all over the world !

Using Social Media Sites to Power Your Political Movement
Fast-forward nearly 2.5 years, and social media sites such as Linkedin (90 million users), Twitter (190 million users), Facebook (41.6% of the US population) and Youtube (virtually everyone with broadband Internet) are even more popular, accessible and versatile than they were during the 2008 election race. Although your political aspirations might not include a presidential bid just yet, you can copy Obama’s marketing strategy to start your own political movement online by following a few simple steps.

Step 1: Get Connected with a Broadband-Enabled Laptop
For the leader of a political movement, a globally connected laptop computer is a necessity, not a luxury. Laptops with wi-fi and 4g coverage allow you to contribute to the progress of your movement at all times. You’ll be able to post blog entries, upload photos and videos, post tweets and publish news updates as soon as they’re relevant.

Step 2: Base Your Political Movement Around Your Passion
It’s vital to base your political movement around something near and dear to your heart, something that you truly feel would benefit from change. Ask yourself, what’s important to myself and my community? Start by considering aspects of your local government, whether they’re environmental, economic, social or political, and determine a cause that you can passionately support. Without the proper motivation, no amount of campaign strategy will solve the issue at hand.

Further, you should be realistic in choosing a goal for your political movement. Lobbying for overriding changes in national policy might be overly ambitious, while identifying a problem in your local community and gathering the support of likeminded individuals who also seek a solution to that problem is far more attainable.

Step 3: Create a Document Outlining Your Political Movement
This document should include a detailed summary of your political movement, including your goals and the ways in which you plan to accomplish them. Be specific, and include details such as why you think a particular issue is a problem, what will be needed in order to fix the problem, who will benefit from you movement, and what those benefits will entail.

Step 4: Determine a Target Audience, and Reach Out to It
Starting a political movement without a target audience rarely leads to positive change, and simply saying that your political movement will benefit “everyone” has little meaning. Instead, think of who your political movement will immediately benefit, and then reach out to those individuals. For example, if your political movement is designed to serve the needs of low-income mothers, find a website such as and share a summary of your movement on its message board.

Step 5: Create a Logo and a Slogan
Your logo should represent your political movement, and serve as an attractive and professional branding that you can place on advertising materials. Unless you’re artistically inclined, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional graphic designer. The fees you’ll pay up front will prove to be a good investment when your logo is finished.

As for a good example of a slogan, we can look back to a popular catchphrase that was often thrown around during Obama’s presidential run, and earlier in 2004 during the Bush v. Kerry presidential election: Vote for Change. In a mere three words, this slogan serves as both a call to action and a representation of an ideal. Obama appealed to the weary sensibilities of an American public that he believed was looking for a distinct change from current policies. Meanwhile, the first word of the slogan served as an actionable instruction: “vote.” The beauty of the slogan lies in its simplicity, and the fact that it leaves the individual with a clear idea of what they need to do in order to support a certain cause.

For these reasons, it is important to create a slogan that is concise, direct and preferably actionable. Further, your slogan should immediately give your audience an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, if not how you plan to accomplish it.

Step 6: Spread the Word Through Social Media Sites
By this point, your political movement should be ideologically solidified, aesthetically sound, and ready for the masses. Now is the time to start advertising your movement and gathering support through social media sites, including Youtube, Twitter and Facebook.

Create a Facebook page dedicated to your movement, and be sure to include every detail of your campaign. Seek out similar pages and make their members aware of your organization. Update the page with fresh content regularly to continue building support after the initial surge in interest, which may consist largely of your existing Facebook friends. Use the Events section of your Facebook page to schedule live and online events that directly relate to your cause.

Twitter is an ideal medium for posting regular updates about your political movement. Meanwhile, you can create and post videos to Youtube that will generate interest in your movement. Clever and humorous videos can become viral in a matter of days or even hours, and may serve as a method of inciting average Internet users to seek more information about your cause.

Step 7: Interact with Your Growing Support Base
As the leader of a growing political movement, you simply can’t afford to appear aloof or disinterested in your cause. Listen to the feedback you receive from your support base, and address their concerns quickly. Encourage open, honest discussion on your political movement’s Facebook page, which is facilitated by the Discussions area of the page. Speak enthusiastically about your political movement’s successes, and explain how your movement will overcome failures.

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