The North Is Next: Thousands gather at Rally for Choice in Belfast

Activists were taking direct action North and South of the border on Saturday as the March for Choice, and the launch of The North is Next zine took place.

The North is Next protest
Image: Vanessa Ifediora @VanessaIfeoma

Performers, speakers and panelists took to the stage of the Project Arts Space Upstairs on Saturday, September 7, to launch The North is Next zine, a collaboration developed by Lisa Connell from GCN and Ruth McGowan from Dublin Fringe Festival in association with Outburst Queer Arts Festival Belfast.

The zine was designed by Dave Darcy (onestrongarm) and illustrated by SOAK.

Actors Amy McAllister and Amy Conroy performed readings by Una Mullally and Stacey Gregg. Northern Irish singer DANI performed a piece by Dawn Watson and sang several pieces.

The zine is described as “part-time capsule, part activist artwork”.

Creators, artists, thinkers and activists from all over the island were gathered to ruminate on and mark this most pivotal moment for Northern Ireland.

To raise consciousness about the reality that 1.8 million people living in Northern Ireland today continue to be denied marriage equality and reproductive health rights.

The zine is a call for continuity of activism, for right now and for whatever comes next.

Meanwhile, in Belfast, thousands gathered at Writer’s Square in support of recent Westminster legislation to change abortion law.

Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International said the rights of women can no longer be denied.

She added: “Today’s rally comes at a critical time. Following recent law reform at Westminster we will soon have decriminalisation of abortion and free, safe and legal and local services.

“For those facing prosecution, this cannot come quickly enough.

“After many years of fighting, we are finally getting the equality we deserve. Any return to Stormont before October 21 must only happen with agreement on abortion reform on exactly the same terms as has been secured at Westminster.

“These rights have been long and hard-fought for, and we will not accept our rights being sacrificed for political expediency.

“The north is now – we are determined to make this a reality.”

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