Silent demonstration at Stormont over planned liberalisation of abortion laws

Thousands of people have staged a silent demonstration at Stormont over the planned liberalisation of abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

Protesters gathered at the front gates of the estate before walking up Prince of Wales Avenue to Parliament Buildings.

They stood there in silence, with heads bowed and holding lights, for six minutes, to represent the six counties in Northern Ireland.

An estimated 4,000 people took part in the NI Voiceless demonstration
An estimated 4,000 people took part in the NI Voiceless demonstration (Rebecca Black/PA)

DUP leader Arlene Foster and UUP leader Robin Swann were among the crowd, which was estimated to number 4,000.

In July, MPs passed the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act, which contained a provision placing a duty on the Government to regulate to provide for access to abortion in Northern Ireland.

It comes into effect if the Stormont executive is not restored by October 21, with regulations required to be in place by the end of March 2020.

The NI Voiceless initiative was set up by citizens opposed to the move, and says the people of Northern Ireland were not consulted.

It claims there is no support for the planned liberalisation of the region’s abortion laws.

One of the organisers, Sarah Crutchley, described the movement as a “group of ordinary concerned citizens who came together and decided it was time to take a stand against the decision made by Westminster”.

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