On Saturday [April 16], up to 150 people joined éirígí’s latest protest against the upcoming state visit by Britain’s Elizabeth Windsor. The protest which took place in front of the historic GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street included a piece of street theatre which saw ‘Elizabeth Windsor’ beheaded in a French revolution-style guillotine.
Prior to the street theatre taking place dozens of placard-carrying protesters lined the central boulevard of O’Connell Street facing the GPO, while at the same time others distributed hundreds of leaflets to pedestrians on either side of Dublin’s main thoroughfare. The sentiment of many passers-by closely echoed the ‘No British Withdrawal? No Royal Visits!’ and ‘Britain Out of Ireland! – Saoirse Anois!’ message contained on the placards and banners.
As half past one approached the distinctive shape of a guillotine was seen to make its way along O’Connell Street. This unusual sight was made all the more bizarre when the ‘British Queen’, in full ceremonial fur lined purple robe, appeared on the scene. The sight of the British monarch was greeted with a mixture of catcalls, boos and the clicking of camera shutters as journalists, protesters and passers-by recorded the unusual sight.
Cathaoirleach éirígí then addressed the crowd, outlining éirígí’s plans for further protests in the run up to, and during, the Windsor visit, including the establishment of an Irish Freedom Camp at the Garden of Remembrance on May 15. He encouraged everyone present to become organisers in their own right, to ensure that Windsor would be met by large numbers of protesters when she arrives in Dublin.
Leeson then introduced Ursula Ni Shionnain, who acted as chairperson of the ‘citizen jury’ which was to try Elizabeth Windsor. Following a short introduction Ursula read out twelve ‘sample charges’ which were to be brought against Elizabeth Windsor and the British Empire. With each charge Ursula asked those present to state whether they believed the accused to be guilty or innocent. The twelve sample charges brought against Windsor were:
- An Gorta Mór – the Great Hunger, when the British state, with the famine Queen Victoria as Monarch, allowed at least one million Irish citizens to die of hunger and related diseases.
- Theft of Ireland’s Natural Resources – For centuries past Britain has plundered Ireland’s natural and human resources for its own ends.
- Execution of 1916 Leaders – A clear war crime in the form of the summary execution of unarmed prisoners – in the process robbing Ireland of some of the greatest minds of a generation. The reigning British monarch at that time - George V – was the last one to visit this city.
- Attempted Eradication of the Irish Language – Understanding the importance of language and culture successive British monarchs and governments has consistently and systematically attempted to eradicate the Irish language from the face of the earth. To this day in the occupied Six Counties the British state, under the reign of Elizabeth Windsor, continues to discriminate against the Irish language and those who wish to use it.
- Suppression of Irish Civil Rights Movement – In the mid 1960’s - having suffered endemic discrimination from the time of partition -the nationalist people in the occupied Six Counties set about developing a civil rights movement. The British state, with Elizabeth Windsor on the throne, ensured that it was mercilessly crushed.
- Bloody Sunday – Dublin and Derry – On two Sundays, in two Irish cities separated by fifty-one years the British military ruthlessly slaughtered unarmed civilians. King George V, the last British head of state to visit this city, reigned when Croke Park was attacked while Elizabeth Windsor pinned medals on the chest of Colonel Derek Wilford – the commanding officer of the troops who committed the Derry massacre.
- Dublin and Monaghan Bombings – Within one mile of where we stand 26 men, women and children died when three car bombs exploded on May 17th, 1974. A further seven people died when a fourth car bomb detonated in Monaghan town. All thirty-three victims died at the hands of a unionist murder gang that was under the direct control of the British state. The reigning monarch at the time of the bombings, Elizabeth Windsor, is scheduled to arrive in the city on May 17th – the 37th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
- Torture of Irish Political Prisoners – For hundreds of years the British state have sought to portray the Irish struggle for freedom as nothing more than a criminal conspiracy. As a consequence the prisons have often become battlegrounds with torture, degradation and humiliation being the weapons of choice of the British state. During the reign of Elizabeth Windsor the conflict within the H-Blocks saw hundreds of republican prisoners suffer unspeakable abuse at the hands of the British state, culminating in the deaths of ten brave hunger strikers. To this day the British state refuses to extend political status to republican prisoners being held in Maghaberry.
- Sinking of the General Belgrano – The liberation of the Malvinas islands by Argentina in 1982 gave British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the external enemy she needed to consolidate her flagging support at home. She personally authorised the sinking of the General Belgrano as it sailed away from the conflict zone, taking 323 souls to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Unionist Death Squad Collusion – From the early 1970’s to the present day the British state, through its military and paramilitary police, have implemented a policy of collusion with the unionist death squads, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Irish citizens. Through all of this time Elizabeth Windsor has been the commander-in-chief of the British military.
- Fallujah massacre, Iraq, 2004 – In November 2004 United States and British military forces launched an all-out offensive on the town of Fallujah in Iraq. Chemical weapons were used extensively used during the course of the assault resulting in the deaths and maiming of hundreds of civilians. The British troops committed this war crime for ‘queen and country’ – their queen being Elizabeth Windsor.
- Ongoing Occupation of the Six Counties –As we stand here today 5000 British combat troops are stationed just over an hour away in occupied Ireland. They, in conjunction with the 9000 paramilitary police of the PSNI and 100s of MI5 spies, maintain Britain’s illegal occupation of the Six Counties. Throughout her almost sixty years as British Monarch, Elizabeth Windsor has provided never ending support to her loyal troops, regardless of the atrocities they have committed in occupied Ireland.
For each charge a member of the citizens’ jury held aloft a placard for that specific charge so that by the end of the trial Windsor was surrounded by a dozen placards detailing the crimes of which she and her empire had been convicted.
Unsurprisingly the citizens’ jury found Windsor and the British Empire guilty of all charges. All that remained was for Elizabeth Windsor’s head to be placed in the guillotine before the blade was dropped to loud applause and cheers. The sight of Elizabeth Windsor’s head rolling along the pavement on O’Connell Street was perhaps the most surreal image of the day.
Four weeks now remain until the real Elizabeth Windsor walks the streets of Dublin – the first British monarch to dare to do so in a century. Irish republicans, socialists and all other progressives are duty-bound to ensure that her visit is met with widespread protest and opposition. If you are interested in helping éirígí in its campaign against the Windsor visit phone 086 236 7298 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.