The Anti-Internment League (AIL), a group of dissident republicans (Irish republicans who do not support the Northern Ireland Peace Process), have organized a march in Belfast on Saturday, August 11, to protest the anniversary of the introduction of internment policy in Northern Ireland. Participants will gather at Writer's Square at 13:00 (local time) and march along Donegall Street to Belfast City Hall. Counterprotests by pro-union loyalists are expected at Lower Garfield Street from 13:00 to 14:30.
Further demonstrations by loyalist and republican groups are possible during the annual marching season that lasts through August. Clashes between protesters and counterprotesters cannot be ruled out. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are expected near the march route and demonstration sites.
On August 9-10, 1971, the British army interned (imprisoned without trial) 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was fighting the British to unify Ireland. The policy of internment led to a sharp increase in violence and continued until December 1975, before which over 1900 people were imprisoned without trial.
During the annual marching season in Northern Ireland, over 1000 parades take place beginning after Easter in April and lasting through August. The majority of parades have traditionally been organized by Protestant loyalist groups leading up to the biggest - and most contentious - demonstration, the Twelfth of July parade, which celebrates the 1688 Glorious Revolution and the victory of William of Orange (a Protestant) over King James II (a Catholic).
Individuals in Northern Ireland, especially in Belfast, are advised to avoid demonstrations as a precaution and to anticipate traffic disruptions in the vicinity of the protests.
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