Almost 30 protesters campaigning for the release of Republican prisoner Marian Price gathered outside a Manhattan celebration marking the Queen’s Jubilee last Thursday evening.
One of the protest organizers, Sandy Boyer, explained why the group decided to crash the Queen’s celebration.
“Marian Price is in prison in Northern Ireland at the Queen’s discretion,” he told the Irish Voice.
“It’s very critical that we raise awareness here. If we can get some noise made, some progress made in the United States, it can have a big effect over there.”
A veteran Republican, Belfast-born Price, 58, was jailed for the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. In May 2011 Price and three Derry men were charged with encouraging support of the IRA after a dissident Republican rally in Derry on Easter Sunday.
Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson revoked her license (parole), claiming the threat that she posed to society had “significantly increased.”
Two months later Price was charged in connection to the murder of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks. Price allegedly supplied a mobile phone which was subsequently used in a Real IRA gun attack in which two British soldiers were killed in March 2009.
The charges against Price and three Derry men were later dismissed at Derry Magistrate’s Court in May 2012.
She was the only female inmate at Maghaberry prison in Antrim from May 2011 until she was moved to the hospital wing of Hydebank prison last February.
Speaking at a vigil last month in Derry, Price’s husband, Gerry McGlinchey said his wife is near breaking point.
Last Thursday evening, a protest close to Times Square in Manhattan called for Price to be released from what her family describes as internment.
A father-of-two from the South Bronx, Irish American Danny Shaw, took part in the demonstration. The CUNY professor said the protest was about the struggle for human rights.
“I was over in Belfast for the 40th anniversary of internment,” 34-year-old Shaw told the Irish Voice.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about everything the Irish people have sacrificed.”
Wearing a jersey commemorating the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes, according to Shaw a lot of Irish Americans are not aware of Ireland’s struggle for independence.
“When I walk into one of the pubs with my hunger striker jersey on, if you don’t have a Jets or Giants jersey they don’t really want to share a beer with you or anything,” he said.
“We may be a small group today, but we are symbolic.”
Another protestor involved was 21-year-old student Emmanuel Pardilla. The South Bronx resident said he identifies with Price.
“For being Dominican here in America I am discriminated against,” says Pardilla.
“The struggle here does not just pertain to the United States. It’s a struggle that stretches from the United States all the way to Ireland, to Dominican Republic everywhere.”
Also participating in the protest was Dawn Lalor from Florida alongside her two sons Dalon, 10, and Sean, 20.
“We actually live down in Florida so we don’t get a chance to do any of this.”
“My friend Bridget is very much involved, so she let us know everything that was going on,” Lalor told the Irish Voice.
Drogheda native Brendan Fay told the Irish Voice he thinks Price’s imprisonment reflects badly on Ireland.
“It’s about the treatment of a woman prisoner,” said the veteran campaigner. “I think this actually reflects who we are as a people.”
“For all our platitudes about peace, justice and quality, this is about due process.”
Asked if he thinks Martin McGuinness should meet the Queen during her visit to Northern Ireland later this month, Fay said he should.
“He should definitely bring Marian Price up with her,” he added.