Early in the week there were fears, prompted by several rumours and tip-offs, that the exporters had stopped using the civilian airport in preference to the nearby Royal Air Force airfield, which would make direct action a little difficult, though it would put the British armed forces here in an embarrassing position. This story is as yet without any solid foundation.
The Belfast International Airport authorities are continuing their refusal to enter into any dialogue with the protesters, media, the general public, CIWF, the man in the moon, their spouses and their imaginary friends :-). They may have already decided to stop the exports and are just playing a teasing game with those who are maintaining a constant presence, camped outside the airport - who knows?
On Friday 10 February 1995, the protesters engaged in some token direct action to attract some publicity, which has naturally been flagging due to the lack of calves. Three protesters, wearing animal masks, chained themselves to pillars in full view of everyone going in and out of the airport. It seems that all the media invited to the stunt actually turned up (for a change) and the story was covered in all the local newspapers, radio programmes and television news. An article from the Belfast Telegraph is attached below.
The Dublin "quality" newspaper, the Irish Times, did a small piece on the Belfast protest in its Saturday edition and followed it up with a whole page of in-depth analysis of the Live Exports debate within an Irish context.
The protesters were recently served with a notice from Antrim Borough Council (Roads department or something like that), advising them to remove their roadside camp within 7 days, after which they would be served with a court order. Apparently this legal action is the result of a complaint from a single (presumably pro-export) councillor. Attempts will be made to bring this matter to public attention, in order politically embarrass the councillor involved.
On Tuesday 14 February 1995, the airport protesters will be staging a demo at the airport, culminating in a minute's silence to coincide with Jill Phipps' funeral. A rally has been organised for Saturday 25 February 1995 addressed by speakers from across the British Isles.
Animal welfare protesters have today chained themselves to railings outside Belfast International Airport. Northern Ireland Groups Against Live Exports (NIGALE) has been blockading the airport for 16 days now in an attempt to stop calves being flown to the Continent for veal.
Monika Kaye, spokeswoman for NIGALE, said: "We wrote to the airport on Monday requseting a meeting. This letter and several phone calls have been ignored. Now it it time for direct action."
Three protesters wearing calf masks have been locked to railings at the main entrance from 10.30am today. One of them Beverly Riley from Belfast said: "We will stay for as long as it takes. This is just the tip of the iceberg."