400,000 spectators in Chicago on Saturday March 14, 2009, heard the Irish Freedom Committee's message of "REMEMBER THE POWs".
|The Chicago cumann of the Irish Freedom Committee made an impressive and well-organized showing in this year’s downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade, attended by over 400,000 people.|
the message REMEMBER THE POWs, we received a warm
and enthusiastic welcome from the crowds and our
banner messages were shouted aloud by many
spectators along the route through Chicago’s Grant
The march was led by the Irish Freedom Committee/Cumann na Saoirse banner, and color party carrying the US flag, Tri-color, and Starry Plough. Following behind an oversized black banner stating “Remember Irish Republican Political Prisoners”, our procession carried placards, marching two by two, calling for the releases of Terry McCafferty, Michael Campbell, and Pól Brennan; all of whom have been held without charge or fair trial. Our placards also called for repatriation for Irish POW Noel Maguire; and an end to human rights abuses in British and Irish jails. Other banners called for “Political Status for Republican POWs” and “Save the Hill of Tara”. Please see our Flickr page for photographs.
Presence of the Irish Freedom Committee in the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade was not lost on the Daily Mail Ireland, who apparently sent a journalist and two photographers to cover our march. The Irish journalist was hostile, confrontational and clearly was sent out to distort our message. When our spokesperson would not acknowledge his baseless allegations against us, the “journalist” sulked away with tape recorder in hand. However we were followed the entire route of the parade by one Mail photographer who took several hundred shots of our marchers – this can be seen in several of our photos.
A special commemorative badge was designed for the day, available for sale soon on this website. We will also have video from the march, shot by our Iraqi cameraman, up on YouTube shortly.
At our post-parade
get-together we were joined by the always-engaging
and eloquent Don Johnson, co-author of P.Michael
O’Sullivan’s renowned 1971 book on the IRA “Patriot
Graves”. Members of the O’Sullivan family were among
our esteemed marchers at the parade.