Friday, January 18, 2013

Pro-choice protest and vigil coincide

Pro-choice groups have organised a counter-demonstration in Dublin on Saturday to coincide with a major pro-life rally.

Pro-choice groups are planning to hold a silent protest at 4.30pm on Merrion Square. 

The protest will coincide with the “Unite for Life” vigil that has been organised by leading pro-life groups.

The vigil will include speeches from Pro Life Campaign’s Caroline Simons and the Life Institute’s Niamh Uí Bhriain.

Pro Life Campaign deputy chairwoman Cora Sherlock said she is expecting a calm and respectful day.

“We live in a democracy. Everyone has the right to express their opinions. They can turn up and be silent or they can turn up and say things. It doesn’t really matter that much.”

Ms Sherlock said that the groups are hoping for a large turnout for their event.

“There are buses coming from across the country, so certainly we are expecting over 10,000 people to turn up. Hopefully the weather will hold up for us.”

Counter-demonstration organiser Sarah Malone said she was planning the event for about a week now, as she is “offended and outraged” that the vigil is being organised to protest against legislation on the X case.

“The level of outrage is so high that we can’t just sit by and watch as this happens. It is undemocratic for them to present themselves as a majority when it is clear through a series of polls and referenda that that is not the case and it’s outrageous that they would apply pressure on legislators not to legislate for something the people clearly want,” she said.

“We are going to be silent, which will hopefully rule out any chance of confrontation. We don’t want this to turn into a shouting match.”

The counter-demonstration is to be joined with an abortion rights campaign planning day, which is running from 10.45am to 5pm.

Independent TD Clare Daly, who has spoken at many pro-choice rallies, said she would not be attending the counter-demonstration as she would be speaking at the conference.

“Everyone has the right to protest, but the pro-choice protest needs to get more organised. That’s what the conference is for. I didn’t even know there was a counter-demonstration taking place and the conference was organised since before Christmas.”

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