777 Bay Street. College Park. Shops. Dining. Even an Irish Pub Ale House. And the home of the British Consulate-General.

The Anti-Colonialist Working Group unfurls their banner on the sidewalk in front of the building. That’s as close as they’ll get to the Consulate office – located in Suite 2800 –  on Thursday evening. 

The police and the RCMP have made that unmistakably clear.

As commuters make their way home at the end of another working day, the banner waves in the light breeze pushing across College Street in Toronto. 

Most sneak a quick glance at the sign without breaking stride. Others ignore it altogether. Some take a flyer. A few even stop and chat.

The message is clear and succinct. Printed in bright red letters on a white background with a blue border. 

It says: “Free Marian Price.”

At a rally in April last year, republican Price was seen holding a speech for a member of the Real IRA at a rally in Derry to commemorate the 1916 Easter uprising. 

Then British Secretary of State Owen Patterson revoked her release license and she was sent back to prison, where she’s been since May 2011.

“She’d been granted a royal pardon when freed from jail in 1980,” said the Belfast Telegraph on August 21. “The government says this pardon has been lost or shredded.”

(In the 1970’s, Price was given a life sentence for her alleged role in the bombing of the Old Bailey in London.)

Price along with Marvin Canning, Paddy McDaid and Frankie Quigley were charged with supporting and organizing the April 2011 rally on behalf of an “illegal organization.”

The charges were later dropped but reinstated by the Public Prosecution Service. All four accused were to appear in court Thursday, but UN, prison and defence doctors examined Price and determined that she was too ill to stand trial.

The Belfast Telegraph, in the same issue, reported that “the 58-year-old was moved to Belfast City Hospital in June to be treated for severe depression after spending a year in solitary confinement in Maghaberry and Hydebank jails.”

Since it’s taken so long to for the case to come to court, her lawyers want the charges dropped again.

The BBC reported that the case has been adjourned for three weeks.

“This was a peaceful rally (in Derry) and the fact that these charges are reinstated shows that the British will do whatever they have to do to silence anyone speaking out for a unified 32 County movement,” says Julian Ichim, an organizer with the Anti-Colonialist Working Group.

“People all over the world know what is going on and will take a stand in defense of fighting imperialism.”

John Bonnar

John Bonnar is an independent journalist producing print, photo, video and audio stories about social justice issues in and around Toronto.