Protesters take to the streets over RHI scandal

Placard waving protesters took to the streets in Londonderry and Belfast earlier this evening to call for the resignation of Arlene Foster over the RHI scandal.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 7:16 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:19 am
Firebrand: Gerry Carroll MLA addresses the crowds outside City Hall on Friday evening to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme . Pic Pacemaker Press

The protests, organised by socialist party People Before Profit, brought people onto the streets outside City Hall in Belfast and the Guildhall in Londonderry, where activists waved ‘Ulster Says Go’ signs and other placards calling for Mrs Foster’s resignation.

In Belfast, amid shouting, chanting and the setting off of ‘smoke-bombs’, campaigners and trade union activists addressed the crowds, before West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll gave a firebrand speech.

At the Londonderry protest, meanwhile, Foyle MLA Eamonn McCann made a direct appeal to working class Protestants to abandon the DUP.

Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press

Mr McCann told the crowd: “I would make a direct pitch to working class Protestant people who may have voted for the DUP in order to keep the other side out - to prevent Martin McGuinness becoming the First Minister because they think they have to rally to the flag at election time.

“I appeal directly to them to take a look at the DUP, to take a look at the true colours of the DUP.

“We believe there has to be a confrontation not just with Arlene Foster, but with the entire political system.”

He added: “Really, politics are based on class. They are based upon the fact that the better off you are, the warmer you are going to be. I would love to get rid of Arlene Foster but then I would love to get rid of the whole lot of them as well.

Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press

“Why should anyone accept austerity when money is literally burned away by people who are living in warm conditions already.”

Referring to the divide between the overwhelmingly nationalist city side of Londonderry and the more unionist Waterside, Mr McCann drew loud cheers from the crowd when he said: “It is as cold on the other side of the river as it is here. It is as cold in Lisburn or Newtonabbey as it is in Newry or Strabane.”

Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
People Before Profit Foyle MLA Eamonn McCann appealed directly to working class Protestants to abandon the DUP
Campaigners and trade union activists hold banners on the steps of the Guildhall in Londonderry
Protestors outside the Guildhall in Londonderry wave placards calling for Arlene Foster's signature
Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press 16/12/2016 People Before Profit hold rally to demand the resignation of First Minister Arlene Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), at Belfast City Hall on Friday evening. Pic Pacemaker Press
People Before Profit Foyle MLA Eamonn McCann appealed directly to working class Protestants to abandon the DUP
Campaigners and trade union activists hold banners on the steps of the Guildhall in Londonderry
Protestors outside the Guildhall in Londonderry wave placards calling for Arlene Foster's signature