This year Belfast saw its largest pro-choice demonstration when about a thousand people took to the streets for the Rally for Choice. This was a significant achievement and to mark it we’ve put together this brief documentary featuring footage from the march, some of the speakers and interviews with both organisers and participants.
The march was organised by Rally For Choice Ireland, a group made up of activists – including one of our members - who would tend to lean more towards the radical side of organising.
Despite the torrential rain the turnout was massive and while the organisers expected Precious Life/Youth Defence to get their usual numbers of around 4000/5000 through their go-to manoeuvre of parishes organising busses, the Rally for Choice outnumbered the Rally for Life for the first time ever in history, an amazing indication of where we are in this battle for abortion rights.
Due to the rain speeches were cut short or postponed entirely. Among those who was meant to speak was Emma Campbell from Alliance for Choice, in the video below you will hear her impressive speech that she sent over to us.
'We rally because we trust women, trans men and non-binary people to make the right decisions about their own bodies and lives. We rally because we are sick of having our lives limited just because we have a uterus. We rally for every woman prosecuted, every person traveling in secret, every body dehumanised, every parent vilified for trusting their own limits of support, every person who turns to Women Help Women or Women on Web for help.'
Transcript of opening part of first interview on the Belfast organisation of the Rally for Choice.
“This year's rally for choice was the biggest pro-choice demonstration the North has ever seen and probably one of the biggest marches in general we have seen for a while.
Normally the rally is a static protest during which we shout at the anti-choicers as they pass
It's not only extremely difficult for the participants to simply stand there while they parade that lies and their rosaries down the street.
We decided this year when we noticed that they hadn't applied for a march permit that we
we would apply and hold our own march instead of the usual kind of demo.
There's about five or six of us organizing with one person taking on the role of coordinator to make sure tasks were completed. We would be of a more radical mindset than the mainstream abortion rights campaigners and despite claims that Amnesty had organized this demo there were at least three anarchists on the organising committee.
We knew we wanted this rally to be something special for the feel that change was around the corner and that we were part of a movement. We made over 40 purple flags with the feminist fist on them and brought in loud hailers so that the streets of Belfast would be under no illusions as to what our demands are…”