7 July 1997
`Unite in Peaceful Opposition' - Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at a press conference in West Belfast this morning appealed for calm and called for ``an end to the hijacking's and burnings which have marred nationalist resistance to the British governments decision to force an Orange march down the Garvaghy Road and has served to take the focus off the actions of the British government''
Mr Adams said:
``The responsibility for the events of the past 36 hours rests squarely on the shoulders of this British government and nothing should be done to divert attention from that. Forget the excuses; forget the PR spins; this British government in its first real test - failed that test. Once again the Orange card has triumphed.
``The questions which Mr Blair must answer now are:
- How does he propose to bridge the huge gulf which the Garvaghy Road decision has created?
- How does his government plan to respond to other contentious parades? Are those scheduled for Bellaghy, the Lower Ormeau Road and elsewhere to be forced through also? Have nationalists no rights under Mr Blair's government?
- What of the key issues of equality , of parity of esteem and of justice?
- What confidence can nationalists place in this government to tackle these issues after the events of this weekend?
``And where sits the peace process? Mr Blair must now spell out how he intends to build a credible peace process. He must put the rhetoric of peace to one side and engage in peace making. Yesterdays decision by Mr. Blair's government is totally in keeping with the political message he delivered here in Belfast last month.
``In the weeks ahead there is a responsibility on the two governments, on Sinn Fein, on other political parties, especially the unionists, on Church leaders, Trade Union leaders, editorial writers and opinion makers, to apply our collective efforts to the shared responsibility of making peace.
``For our part Sinn Fein will not be deflected from pursuing our peace strategy and more immediately the need for an inclusive and credible process of negotiations.
``Sinn Fein is prepared to enter into discussions now, immediately, with this British government, in effort to diffuse the current crisis and to find ways to make progress. Is Mr Blair ready to do that?
``I am calling upon the broad nationalist community to unite in peaceful opposition to the policy of this British government. I am asking people to face up to their responsibilities, to meet, to discuss tactics, to ensure that there is a clear way forward.
``We have already held a number of successful peaceful mobilisations. We intend to build upon that. We intend to send a clear message to this British government and to the international community that Tony Blair's government stands indicted for trampling on the civil and political rights of nationalists.''
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