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(en) Fighting racism is no crime

From Workers Solidarity Movement <wsm@newmail.net>
Date Mon, 4 Dec 2000 06:44:59 -0500 (EST)


 ________________________________________________
      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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*************************************************
>From Ainriail - the Irish Anarchist list
*************************************************

Below is the text of a leaflet about the
prosecution of 11 anti-racist activists
for occupying the Irish Taoiseach (equiv
to Prime minister/President).  It's followed
by details of what international solidarity
can be offered by organisations on this.  (One
of the activists is a WSM member.)

----

Text of leaflet follows

FIGHTING RACISM IS NOT A CRIME... On 28th March
2000 a group of eleven anti-racists occupied the
Taoiseach's constituency office, in protest at
proposed draconian measures against asylum
seekers. The government was planning to
introduce prison ships (so-called 'flotels'),
forcible fingerprinting and the introduction of
police from abroad to catch people fleeing
injustice in their own countries. Bertie Ahern
had praised the Australian system of dealing
with asylum seekers, where people are held in
detention centres.

Although the protest was entirely peaceful, the
eleven were arrested and two women were
stripsearched in Fitzgibbon St. Garda Station.
The eleven have since been charged under the
Public Order Act and face the possibility of
prison sentences. The use of such laws to clamp
down on legitimate political protest in Ireland
is a disturbing attack on civil liberties.
Previously, trade unionists and other protestors
have been threatened with similar sanctions.
Occupations have been used by other groups as a
form of protest many times in the past. For
example, when members of the Irish Farmers
Association (IFA) occupied the offices of the EU
Commission for 10 days in July, the Taoiseach
met with the IFA leadership on several occasions
during the occupation and gave a 'compensation
package' costing =A360m. It is clear that the
Public Order Act is selectively applied.

The accused anti-racists are guilty of no crime.
The real crime is the racism of the state. In
recent years the government has deported many
people who have come to Ireland to escape
political and economic persecution. Refugees
have faced racist harassment from police and
other state officials. Politicians have
repeatedly tried to scapegoat refugees for
social problems in an attempt to hide their own
responsibility for the lack of investment in
housing and social services.

Racism is the real crime: fighting against it is
not a crime. We ask people to support the anti-
racists, who are guilty of nothing but standing
up to that crime.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
---
"I support the eleven anti-racists charged in connection with the
occupation of the Taoiseach's constituency office.  I call for the
charges against them to be dropped."

Name:_________________________
Address:_________________________________________________________

Return to: Residents Against Racism, c/o Comhlamh,
10 Upper Camden St., Dublin 2

E-mail messages of support to: dublin_11@hotmail.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
--
Appeal issued by:
Anti-Racism Campaign, Anti-Fascist Action, Residents Against Racism,
Ogra Shinn Fein

----

30th November 2000

Dear Friends

We are contacting you seeking your support for
eleven anti-racist activists who are being charged
in relation to a protest against state racism
which took place at the Taoiseach's constituency
office on March 28th last.

On that day a short sit-in took place at the
office.  The action was taken as, at that
time, the cabinet was meeting to discuss a
number of draconian measures to be introduced
against asylum seekers.  These included:
*The introduction of detention camps
*The introduction of accomodation on prison
ships (also called 'flotels')
*Forcible fingerprinting of asylum seekers
*An expansion of the compulsory dispersal system

The anti-racist groups involved took the
decision to highlight these injustices in a
direct but entirely peaceful manner.  Occupations
have been used many times in the past to draw
attention to unjust actions by governments in
Ireland.

All eleven activists were arrested and two women
were later strip searched in Fitzgibbon Street
Garda Station.

The activists have now been charged under the
1994 Public Order Act, with refusing to obey
the direction of a Garda.  The maximum sentence
is individual fines of =A3500 and/or a six month
sentence.  The cases are being heard in the
Dublin District Court on December 12th and
15th 2000.

We believe that racism is the real crime, fighting
it is not a crime.  We are calling for the charges
to be dropped.

We are asking your organisation to consider
doing the following:
*Send a message of support to the activists
facing trial
*Distribute and discuss this matter throughout
your organisation
*Print an article about it in your journals
or internal newsletters
*Encourage other groups, parties or organisations
to support this campaign

Below is the content of a leaflet which we
are distributing outlining the case.  We ask you
to print it off and display it and/or photocopy
it and distribute it.  If you would like us to
send you copies, please mail us back and we will
be glad to do so.

Thank you for your attention.
Gregor Kerr (Anti Racism Campaign)
Mags Glennon (Anti Fascist Action)
Rosanna Flynn (Residents Against Racism)
Glenn Brady (Ogra Shinn Fein)

Messages of support or queries can be sent to:
Residents Against Racism, c/o 10 Upper
Camden St., Dublin 2
E-mail: dublin_11@hotmail.com

"I/We support the eleven anti-racist activists
charged in connection with the occupation of the
Taoiseach's constituency office.  I/We call for
the charges to be dropped."
Name of organisation:__________________________
Address:_____________________________
E-mail:___________________________

Text of leaflet follows

FIGHTING RACISM IS NOT A CRIME... On 28th March
2000 a group of eleven anti-racists occupied the
Taoiseach's constituency office, in protest at
proposed draconian measures against asylum
seekers. The government was planning to
introduce prison ships (so-called 'flotels'),
forcible fingerprinting and the introduction of
police from abroad to catch people fleeing
injustice in their own countries. Bertie Ahern
had praised the Australian system of dealing
with asylum seekers, where people are held in
detention centres.

Although the protest was entirely peaceful, the
eleven were arrested and two women were
stripsearched in Fitzgibbon St. Garda Station.
The eleven have since been charged under the
Public Order Act and face the possibility of
prison sentences. The use of such laws to clamp
down on legitimate political protest in Ireland
is a disturbing attack on civil liberties.
Previously, trade unionists and other protestors
have been threatened with similar sanctions.
Occupations have been used by other groups as a
form of protest many times in the past. For
example, when members of the Irish Farmers
Association (IFA) occupied the offices of the EU
Commission for 10 days in July, the Taoiseach
met with the IFA leadership on several occasions
during the occupation and gave a 'compensation
package' costing =A360m. It is clear that the
Public Order Act is selectively applied.

The accused anti-racists are guilty of no crime.
The real crime is the racism of the state. In
recent years the government has deported many
people who have come to Ireland to escape
political and economic persecution. Refugees
have faced racist harassment from police and
other state officials. Politicians have
repeatedly tried to scapegoat refugees for
social problems in an attempt to hide their own
responsibility for the lack of investment in
housing and social services.

Racism is the real crime: fighting against it is
not a crime. We ask people to support the anti-
racists, who are guilty of nothing but standing
up to that crime.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
---
"I support the eleven anti-racists charged in connection with the
occupation of the Taoiseach's constituency office.  I call for the
charges against them to be dropped."

Name:_________________________
Address:_________________________________________________________

Return to: Residents Against Racism, c/o Comhlamh,
10 Upper Camden St., Dublin 2

E-mail messages of support to: dublin_11@hotmail.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
--
Appeal issued by:
Anti-Racism Campaign, Anti-Fascist Action, Residents Against Racism,
Ogra Shinn Fein


<-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><->

>From Irelands's Workers Solidarity Movement
http://more.at/anarchism

Read the International Anarchist Platform
and subscribe to the AP list
http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/platform.html


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