Visit to be marked by protests in six cities over US attack in Sudan

 

Tomorrow's arrival of President Clinton will be marked in six cities by protests against the US missile attack in Sudan and other aspects of US foreign policy.

The Clinton Protest Committee, an ad-hoc committee composed largely of people who campaigned against the 1990 Gulf War, is organising the protests in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Belfast and Derry. It is supported by the Green Party and says it hopes to be supported by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and other peace organisations.

Mr Kieran Allen of the committee said the US had not produced evidence that the factory it attacked in Sudan was a chemical weapons plant, as it had claimed.

"A valuable pharmaceutical plant has been obliterated," he told a press conference yesterday, "bringing not only the loss of 300 jobs but also, in the long term, greater damage to a country wracked by disease and famine."

He accused the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrews, of displaying "utter hypocrisy by expressing concern for the plight of Sudan while his colleagues in Government express their understanding of the US bombing".

If the Government was not going to protest about the US attack, then ordinary Irish people should. It was "important that people throughout the world see Irish citizens express their outrage at the US double standards on terrorism".

Ms Patricia McKenna, a Green Party MEP, said the Irish people's appreciation of the role Mr Clinton played by in the Northern peace process should not make them stay silent about the attack on the factory in Sudan. "That would imply that we want peace and justice in our own country but are oblivious to it elsewhere." She said Mr Osama bin Laden had previously been backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Donal MacFhearraigh, said that while the US put itself forward as backing peace, it "has become the biggest seller of weapons in the world".

He said that "with the ending of the Cold War, the US needs to engage in a programme to decommission its own weapons, especially as it lectures others about the importance of peace."

The main demonstration takes place in Dublin tomorrow, when a march leaves the Garden of Remembrance at 7.30 p.m. The others are in Belfast (12.30 p.m. outside the Waterfront Hall); Derry (12.30 p.m., War Memorial, The Diamond); Cork (7 p.m., Paul Street Shopping Centre); Galway (7.30 p.m., outside Moons, Shop Street); Waterford (Saturday, 1 p.m., Red Square).

The Palestinian Delegate General to Ireland, Mr Yussuf Allan, has asked the Taoiseach to urge President Clinton to press Israel to honour the Oslo peace accord.