I suppose if you are going to have a mass Rally for Peace outside Belfast City Hall, then nine days before Christmas….and peoples shopping progress already delayed by ten days of loyalist “protest”…..is the wrong time to actually have it.
Yet it was a bit of a disaster. If you are going to have a “mass” protest ……you need a lot of people. Up to one thousand people attended. Other estimates say “hundreds”. I wasnt there ….but lets say “800” which means that about 1% of the people there…. are on my Facebook or Twitter account……which indicates that it appealed to the “politically aware” rather than the Public as a whole.
Did we actually need a Peace Rally? I dont think we did. Lets be frank…..there was little or no inter-community violence over the ten days since the “Flegs” vote was passed at Belfast City Hall. Rather it was loyalist rioting and the power to stop it all was in the hands of the PSNI….and they chose mostly to not use that power. Incrementally they suggested higher degrees of loyalist paramilitary organisation…….and at the time of the attempted murder of a PSNI officer, they publicly and possibly privately put out the word that “enough is enough”………and since midweek there has been a scaling down of the protests.
Or ……to put it another way….those who “turned on” the Violence had already turned it off before today.
Yet some people are saying that the “image” is important. That somehow we need to send out the right “image” to folks in USA and Britain…..that the rioting they witnessed on their TV News was not the real Norn Iron. Well frankly what we saw on our TV screens was more real than MTV Award Shows, Titanic Exhibitions, stupid lapel badges with meaningless “Our Time, Our Place” slagans and G8 summits.