On Saturday (May 15) the true nature of the Twenty-Six County state was once again exposed as the Garda violently attacked those who dare to oppose NAMA, the bank bailouts and the savage programme of cutbacks.
The Garda response to éirígí’s protest was not the result of an operational blunder or lack of experience. The decision to attack peaceful protesters was both premeditated and well planned. And more importantly is was highly political. The Dublin government have clearly decided that the emerging resistance to their right wing economic policies must be crushed before it grows stronger.
Below is a full account of the events of the day. The times below are accurate to within ten minutes. All of the key facts below have been authenticated by eye witness accounts, photographs and video footage.
Four éirígí activists climb onto the roof of the outer porch of Anglo Irish Bank headquarters on Stephens Green in Dublin city centre. They unfurl a large banner with ‘People of Ireland Rise Up’ emblazoned upon it. The four chain themselves together as part of their peaceful protest. Three other éirígí activists remain on the ground to provide support.
5.50 – 7.00
First Garda arrive within five minutes of rooftop protest beginning. Those taking part in the protest inform the Garda that they are staging a peaceful protest in opposition to NAMA, the bank bailout and the cutbacks. They also inform the Garda, in an act of civil disobedience, that they will not be complying with Garda orders to end their protest.
Additional Garda units arrive in a variety of marked and unmarked vehicles. By seven o’clock fifteen Garda vehicles are in situ, including a number of vans which are positioned under the outer porch of the building. The Garda also erect crowd control barriers across the front of the building.
7.00 – 11.15
During the course of the morning the Garda maintain a large presence both inside and outside of Anglo Irish headquarters. The Garda dog unit and vehicles used to transport the Garda riot squad also arrive in the vicinity, parking on Dawson Street, Kildare Street and Stephens Green.
The rooftop protesters continue to hold their banner while chatting to people on the ground who have come to show their support. The general atmosphere is light hearted and entirely peaceful.
11.15 – 12.15
The Garda remove a window from inside of the building and climb onto the roof of the outer porch. The éirígí activists inform the Garda that they are engaged in a peaceful protest and that any attempt to forcibly remove them would potentially be very dangerous, given that fact that they are chained together.
Despite the obvious safety risks a number more Garda climb through the window. In response the protesters move to the edge of the outer porch, still offering no resistance. The Garda then remove the banner and other items belonging to the protesters from the porch roof.
Up to twenty Garda charge towards the protesters. Despite the fact that no resistance is offered all four protesters are pinned down before being dragged through the window into the building. Once inside all four are forced to lie face down before being handcuffed and removed to a waiting van.
Meanwhile outside the bank roughly twenty protesters move to the rear entrance of the Anglo Irish building, with the intent of establishing the well-being of those who had just been dragged off the roof. It was at this point that the Garda first draw their batons and beat the protesters back onto Dawson Street.
Following a short standoff upwards of eighty Gardaí, including members of the riot squad and the dog unit, again attack protesters, pushing them into the path of oncoming traffic on Dawson Street.
For roughly ten minutes the Garda mob push, punch, drag and kick protesters away from the Anglo Irish building. At no point do the protesters retaliate in kind, despite the ample provocation.
Three more people, including the advertised main speaker for the protest, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, are arrested under public order legislation.
12.15 – 15.15
Protesters make their way back to Anglo Irish headquarters as word of the Garda actions spreads across the city. By half past two, up to one hundred and fifty people have joined the protest.
Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson and Rúnaí Ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith both address the crowd as word comes through that all of those who had been arrested are to be charged in the Bridewell court later in the afternoon.
The Garda attempt to prevent the erection of an effigy of disgraced banker Sean Fitzpatrick. The crowd refuse to bow to the Garda and cheer loudly as the effigy is set on fire. Chants of ‘Whose cops? NAMA’s cop’s’ and ‘Regulation doesn’t work – let the banks burn’ echo off the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank.
15.15 – 17.30
Following the ending of the protest outside Anglo Irish Bank upwards of fifty people make their way to the Bridewell to demonstrate their support for the seven protesters who are to appear in court.
Six of the seven protesters, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, Eoin Ó Sé, Daithí O Riain, Ursula Ní Shionnain, Pádraig Ó Meiscill and Robert Fox are released on bail after being charged under trespass and public order legislation. As part of their bail conditions all are banned from Anglo Irish Bank headquarters or any other Anglo Irish Bank property.
The seventh protester John McCusker is refused bail on the spurious grounds of the Garda being unwilling to accept that he was indeed John McCusker. The six protesters leave the courts to loud cheers from the assembled supporters.
John McCusker is transported to Cloverhill Prison until such time as the Garda are satisfied that they have established his identity. At the time of writing (the evening of Sunday May 16) John remains in custody.
Click here for a photo essay from the day.
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