BELFAST, Northern Ireland, April 2 (UPI) -- Two dissident republican groups rejected an Easter weekend overture from Sinn Fein to reunite the movement and end violence in Ireland, leaders say.
Both the dissident groups, the Continuity IRA and the New IRA, claim the mantle of the Irish Republican Army. Both told The Guardian they do not consider Sinn Fein, which participates in the unity government in Northern Ireland, a legitimate organization.
"Our position is that they are now an integral part of the machinery of British rule in Ireland and that consequently as Irish republicans we have nothing to say to them. Simple as that," Des Dalton, head of Republican Sinn Fein, political arm of the Continuity IRA, told The Guardian.
Easter is often a tense time in Ireland because of commemorations of the Easter Rising in 1916. On Easter Monday that year, Irish rebels seized the General Post Office in Dublin and held it for six days in a bloody uprising that inspired the successful effort for Irish independence a few years later.
In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, known to republicans as Derry, about 200 people participated in an unauthorized demonstration sponsored by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the Belfast Telegraph reported. Protesters, some of them children, hurled stones at police officers, police said.
"While the event passed off without incident it was extremely concerning to see children, some of whom looked to be under the age of 10, throwing stones at police vehicles," a police statement said.
Investigators believe an explosion Saturday in Craigavon in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was an attempt to lure police into an ambush, The Guardian said. South of the border, eight suspected republican dissidents were arrested on Good Friday in the Irish capital, Dublin.