Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Illegal Garda Actions Fail to Stop Anti-Royal Protests

Edited May 19th 2011 - Video footage added

éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey has said that the state's anti-democratic and draconian efforts to prevent protests and intimidate protesters against the Windsor visit have failed miserably. He said the blatantly illegal and bully boy tactics used by Gardai exposed once again the fact that they are a political police force who break their own laws at will.

Casey was speaking on the second day of protests in Dublin at the Windsor visit and the presence of up to 30 UDA henchman at a ceremony at Islandbridge today.

Casey said: "The intimidatory and illegal bully boy tactics by Gardai in recent days has exposed the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of this state. Gardai have acted in a deliberate and illegal manner. They have threatened and harassed political activists engaged in leafleting and postering. They have illegally torn down posters and stolen them from activists, despite permission and permits from Dublin City Council to do so."

"As éirígí activists were about to lay a wreath at Kilmainham jail this morning close to Islandbridge to honour the memory of those who fought for Irish freedom, more than a dozen Gardai using notorious public order legislation searched the car of éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan and seized political material. Amongst the items seized was a banner that read 'Fund Communities - Not Royal Visits'. The Gardai's reason was that they deemed this banner, which was in the boot of her car, as 'offensive'. They have also removed banners from private residences and seized banners off other éirígí activists including one which read 'Freedom for Fermanagh' which Gardai ridiculously claimed could 'incite hatred'."

"Over the course of the last two days, despite engaging in solely peaceful protests, I and other activists have been manhandled, assaulted and threatened repeatedly by the so-called 'guardians of the peace'. Earlier this morning, as myself and other éirígí activists postered for tonight's rally in Dublin's South West Inner City, we were stopped, searched, threatened and had our posters stolen by two car loads of plainclothes Gardai outside of Council offices. They refused to show ID and refused to state what act we were being stopped and searched under, despite being legally obliged to do so and being repeatedly asked. Even after showing Gardai our permit and even when a council official came out and told Gardai that we did have permission, they persisted in stealing the posters."

Casey added: "I was physically manhandled in that incident. As I took video footage of an éirígí protest at the spire yesterday (Tues May 17) I was assaulted and dragged to the ground by Gardai in a bid to prevent me filming their illegal actions and political policing."

"This illegal behaviour and bully boy tactics against peaceful protests only serves to underline the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of the state. It exposes the lie that there is freedom of assembly, freedom to engage in peaceful protest and freedom to organise political activity within this state. As we have repeatedly seen in Mayo, peaceful protest is only tolerated if the state and the Gardai say so. It will not be tolerated if they believe it threatens the interests of the political and business elite."

Casey concluded: "This week, the Gardai basically tore up their own law book and acted in an organised illegal manner. However, they have failed to stop the protests and once again éirígí will be marching on Dublin Castle this evening from 5.30pm where the wealthy elite will be wined and dined with Windsor at tax-payers expense. As with her visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Windsor and her entourage will leave Dublin Castle in no doubt that she is not welcome here as the chants of 'Can you hear us loud and clear - British royals not welcome here'."

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