Peace rally held in Belfast

Peace rally held in Belfast

A peace rally has been held outside Belfast City Hall by a group calling for Stormont's politicians to find a way forward following the failure of the Haass talks.

Dr Richard Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan were brought in last year by the region's leaders in an attempt to resolve issues surrounding flags, parades and how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.However, on New Year's Eve, after seven draft proposals an agreement was not reached.A former US envoy to the region, Dr Haass, told UTV earlier this month that he believed there is a lot in it for Northern Ireland.Sunday's event was organised by Wake up Belfast, who are linked to the network Mindfulness Ireland.Mike McEvoy, of Wake Up Belfast, told UTV that the event was a gesture to encourage the development of the peace process and "to encourage our representatives to come together to compromise."He said the Wake Up movement was borne out of Plum Village, a Buddhist community in the south-west of France, which was set up by one of the world's most influential spiritual leaders, Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh.The 85-year-old visited Stormont in 2012, urging politicians to connect with their spiritual side in order to achieve reconciliation.Mr McEvoy said that the group is open to people of all ages, of faith or no faith."We are calling for peace, we're calling for compromise, the practise of loving speech, deep listening to progress peaceful society."One man said that he had attended the event as part of a "silent dignified protest."He added that he wanted to show that there's a lot of disenchantment with the political leaders and the lack of progress made at the Haass talks.Another said: "I just feel like we're at stalemate."Adding that he was sick of it, he continued: "It's very hard to get your voice heard here so if you come down and make some noise with like-minded people, it's better than nothing."The gathering met for around 30 minutes and finished off with banging kitchen utensils.


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