Independent Media Centre Ireland

Protests in Belfast against Bush Visit.

category antrim | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday June 16, 2008 22:05author by Paula Geraghty

The Union Jack no where to be seen, replaced, bravely and daringly with an Iraqi flag over City Hall. Hundreds protested at the lunchtime protest. The protests continued at Stormont. More reports to follow.

Bush, a president on the way out, finished his last European tour today in Belfast. Hundreds commemorated the struggle for peace and justice in the world at City Hall, calling to mind the Civil Rights struggle in the 6 counties. Eamon McCann one of the Raytheon 9 acquitted of criminal damage against the arms manufacturer Raytheon spoke of how we are told we live in a global village and thus Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese, Palestinian and all nationalities are now are neighbours. There was much celebration as the Iraqi flag was to be seen, raised over City Hall, replacing the Union Jack, a brave gesture and symbol of solidarity. An Iraqi man spoke of his gratitude for the solidarity shown by those present in Belfast.

Many Trade Unions were represented; Unison Unite and there was a spokesperson from NIPSA. Éirigí, the Workers Party, some Ógra Sinn Féin, Socialist Party, SWP and SDLP were all in attendance. It was made quite clear that those who desire peace should not invite the world's greatest terrorist to Belfast.

Images (c)



Iraqi Flag over City Hall
Iraqi Flag over City Hall


Comments (15 of 15)

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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 22:10author address author phone






A section of the crowd.
A section of the crowd.

author by Markpublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 22:10author address author phone

More photos of the Iraqi flag at City Hall and banners around Belfast on the éirígí website:

Also a piece on their shutting of the US consulate:

author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 22:15author address author phone







author by Markpublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 22:31author address author phone

Some more pics

Banner on Westlink
Banner on Westlink

City Hall
City Hall


Friends of the culprits?
Friends of the culprits?

author by radical jonnypublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 22:43author address author phone

BBC Newsline had some (very brief) footage of Ciaron O'Reilly getting wrestled to the ground by the PSNI.

Anybody got any news re: that?

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 00:16author address author phone

Ciaron on ground under 2 PSNI, Mark Chapman in the air (later arrested)
See latest comments on

author by Davy Carlinpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 09:45author address author phone

Yep there where a number of protests over the last day or two, I was at the city centre one before heading up to speak at the Stormont one -and fair play to all involved in whatever they participated in.

The Flag one – got a loud cheer, and the sign upon Black Mountain was good -

Fair play to all!

Bit of the Newsletter report – on Stormont

‘It’s not clear why {Bush’s} route was altered, but security considerations may have been a factor, or his advisors may have wanted to keep the President away from the Protestors. Amid the noisy demonstrations, one police man's attempt to break the tension by srtoking a protester's dog failed when the dog started barking.

During speeches from various left - wing groups denouncing the Presidents eight year term, there was good natured heckling from a bush of supporters across the road. As word spread that the President had arrived by another entrance the protesters upped the volume of their rhythmic No welcome for bush , no blood for oil, no US war planes on our soil’ chant.

Surrounded on three sides by scores of riot police, the protesters, numbering around 200, where largely and peaceful’

author by radical jonnypublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 13:00author address author phone

The DUP site listed in the last post claims that the Union flag...

"...represents freedom, democracy, and unity in the face of dictatorship...Those who broke into the city hall to remove the Union Jack and replace it with the Iraqi flag deserve to be condemned."

Surely Iraq, since the Bush/Blair glorious liberation, is also a democracy, correct? So what exactly is the DUP so upset about? The Iraqi flag ALSO represents freedom, democracy, and unity. Ostensibly, flying the Iraqi flag should fill the DUP with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment.

Thanks to the lads who hoisted it up. Long may it wave.

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 15:58author address author phone

See Related Link for a Village interview with Iraqi, Dr. Raied al-Wazzan.

Colm with the Iraqi flag flying proud above his head
Colm with the Iraqi flag flying proud above his head

Eamonn McCann
Eamonn McCann


Dr. Raied al-Wazzan
Dr. Raied al-Wazzan

Mina from Norway on the left with her Norwegian friend
Mina from Norway on the left with her Norwegian friend

Related Link:
author by antiwarpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 01:32author address author phone

Irish News

"An Iraqi flag was flown from Belfast City Hall for a time yesterday during a protest against the visit of US President Bush to Northern Ireland"
"A protestor scaled City Hall and removed the union flag and replaced it with the iraqi flag, while a 1000 strong crowd who had gathered cheered."

"A short time later 80 protestors carrying flags and placards gathered outside Stormont"

Well done to the 1000+ people who took the time out to demonstrate against Bush at City Hall. It was a fantastic turnout and was well organised by BAWM.

p.s was at stormont later, someone got arrested, a bit of an embarrassment, but anyway, well done to the organisers who tried to keep it under control

author by Davy Carlinpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:23author address author phone

Whatever the numbers, by main stream media

For City hall 250 through to 1000
Stormont 80 - through to 200 - depending what u read, the important issue here is that we made our presence heard.--
Indeed much work was put in by many, -for both- , visible and otherwise. {at a later date}

the above statement - 'p.s was at Stormont later, someone got arrested, a bit of an embarrassment, but anyway, well done to the organisers who tried to keep it under control' - in part, shows a mindset, that many aul hands have moved on from,

It was also good to see, the BAWM, invited to speak at the Stormont event, along with many of those grassroots activist, who rarely get the opportunity to speak at such events {and who in many cases put much of the back work in} but instead have to listen to by and large the same speakers time and again {and I am not saying that those are not good speakers or have not got good or valid points to raise – as many have}

But I had found at Stormont several grassroots speakers {who where obviously nervous} taking to the platform – which does two thinks

Firstly it further gives them confidence, in the lessons of oratory, which is a good thing {to put that grassroots voice forward}, and secondly they are given an opportunity for then to raise their voices and beliefs to a wider audience {more especially as they are the backbone and the ‘foot soldiers’ for the Movements}.

Professional speakers, trade union officials, NGO leaders etc are given many opportunities, to practise their oratory, and provided with many avenues to put out their beliefs, - and this should in many cases be so {more especially if on the left}

So while the City Hall rally embraced much of eth Movement, {and I personally had been at the forefront of most of the recent such in the last decade – which many – indeed - started with just a handful of the left in a room} – and provided that opportunity for those speakers, the Stormont one provided that platform for those grassroots

May it have been 10, 000 at City Hall, and 100 at Stormont, each , I have learnt in my Political Journey, are important – in that sense of providing room for large scale mobilisation, or smaller scale propaganda actions, while providing the grassroots {the backbone to previous and future Movements} with a voice.

The politics of control, of closed doors, and such interest, I have moved on from

Indeed they {and we} are not just the paper sellers the poster putter uppers, our voices are as important {if not more so} And of course people make mistake, of course there are lessons to be learnt on the way, but that learning curve and confidence begins not only through listening – but through speaking and engaging, more especially at such events

Tactics and strategy is important in al such moves forward, my belief is that a step forward for the benefit of even more of our class, within communities, workplaces and wider society etc, is better that almost sole rhetoric and roaring . If judgement on poitical activism is to come, it should be on what has been delivered in the communities and workplaces that such activism resides, and on what working class victories won, that is the beginning of the real politic of real change, and many at Stormont have been to the forefront of much of such local gains in recent time

It is of course essential that such issues are addressed in solidarity to far of lands, but equally I believe many issues need also dealt with here – as did many of those who spoke of such from the platform at Stormont.

At the end of eth day, Political Organisations and Official doom has it own interests, and many such have the financial clout to provide its own avenues, for me I understand the necessity of such at time, but like others – will never forget – the grassroots, as such would not, and will not, come about without them...

And of course while solidarity will be forthcoming {visible and otherwise in much such like} -
The politics of Control, of the closed doors – ain’t going to happen, not here, not now, not without such avenues provided .

Related Link:
author by ex sinn feinpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 15:27author address author phone

What a day at city hall,good on the lads hoisting the flag of Iraq. nice to see the Shinners clap, the flag going up,then the horror in there eyes,to see that it was the lads from Eirigi. Everything spelt properly. Except the Shinner T Shirts,does anyone have a photo,of the over 50s Ogra, in there T shirts, Its a cracker,seem to be getting it all wrong these days.

author by Fra Halligan - Irish Republican Socialist Partypublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 15:35author address author phone

It was great to see so many young people at both the City Hall and Stormont protests against the War Criminal Bush, it is vital that the 'Folks on the Hill' are openly challenged for receiving this evil Warmonger and people demand answers from those elected rep's who speak so loudly about Peace and Human Rights on one hand and on the other sit with this Facist madman. For the promise off a few bob eh! and to be told they are 'doing a good job' from a man who would struggle to spell the word 'good'!

Just a wee note the Irish Republican Socialist Party was present at the City Hall protest this was not mentioned in the list of those attending, no big deal, just thought I would mention it.

author by Cathal O Cleirigh - Irish Republican Socialist Partypublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 16:32author address author phone

Just commenting on the note that comrade Fra Halligan made regarding the attendance of the IRSP at the demonstration protest. The IRSP were in attendance and a job well done to all who represented the party at such an important event. Pity none of the photos posted could have shown the IRSP banners and flags...

Anyway, on an important note there should be no tolerance of this war monger or his administration of death. This should go for the alien brit PM Gordon Brown, who has also declared more troops to be drafted into Afghanistan. Equal pars I say. I also noticed that Ogra Sinn Fein were present protesting - are they now going against the main party line, or are they trying to dupe people into believing that PSF aren't really up Bush's arse?

author by Tomás Gorman - Irish Republican Socialist Partypublication date Thu Jun 19, 2008 19:06author address author phone

One thing that struck me was how dire the speakers were. Admittedly, I didn't hang around for Eamonn McCann and he is usually very good but the others were dreadful. All were quite vocal in their condemnation of the assembly for hosting the beast but failed to address the fact that the assembly is the local political administration of the same imperialist force inflicting aggression on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sean Mitchells monotone address included a line on how we in our new dispensation don't want warmongers in Belfast.....why can't he say the same about Brown, his deputies and his troops who are being trained for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan on our soil. why can't he be as vocal about the MI5 station experimenting in counterinsurgency in Holywood. Too many contradictions.

Ignore it or not, imperialism still matters in Ireland and its effects perpetuate Sectarianism not the resistance to it.

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