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(en) Mothers day on the long road to Shannon Warport March 31 2003

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 1 Apr 2003 15:19:54 +0200 (CEST)


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> From: Andrew To: ainriail@struggle.ws
Another day of protesting in the capital was followed
by a plan for a 'slow march' to the Terminal at
Shannon airport on Sunday.

So again for GNAW activists in Dublin this meant
another early start. Clocks had gone forward an hour
be we all still managed to be at Wood Quay for 9.30am.
An elderly shrewd woman passer by asked what the red &
black flags were for. We informed her we were
anarchists on the way to Shannon for a protest and she
told us how her local residents group were against
this war. She wished us luck and told us not to get
arrested.

We filled two cars and headed off on the N7 again for
what seemed like the 100th time. I know the names of
all the towns no matter how small. Boris, Mounthrath,
Emo 2Km somewhere to the west of us and Toomeyvara
where we have our favourite pit stop. After getting
through Limerick the skies darkened ominously. We soon
came across the largest road block I've encountered
yet for one of these demonstrations.

We tried to hide the flag poles. Fortunately the 12
Gardai were too busy stopping buses to worry about a
Dublin registered car with a black hooded suspicious
type riding shotgun with two 8 foot flagpoles inside
the car. They stopped the bus from Cork, boarded it
and searched peoples bags and belongings. Just another
paragraph to the history of the intimidation of
activists by the State.

We got through without being stopped as the boys in
yellow were too interested in swapping jokes and going
though pre-game analysis of the grand slam decider. We
had some time to spare so we went to the Shannon peace
house. This house and the people who live here have
done an amazing job in highlighting the role being
played by Shannon airport in this dirty war. They have
shone a light on the proceedings in Clare and for that
they are being harassed and hassled by the Gardai. Now
the landlady is being hasseled into evicting her
tenants. Another dirty little campaign being waged by
the forces of law and order. Maybe we'll get another
tribunal in ten years time dealing with their tactics
here. As we parked around the corner from the house we
looked directly at two special branch detectives
sitting in the car in front of us. People at the peace
house have helped with legal and prisoner support.
They also still are documenting the planes and flights
that come into and leave the airport ferrying troops
and arms to the war zone.

We finally arrived into the car park shortly before
2.00pm. It wasn't looking very promising so we went to
the pub to watch the rugby. Not my sport but I really
enjoyed catching the first thirty minutes of the game
whilst people assembled in the car park. I also
enjoyed it knowing that the State had mobilised 400
cops for the demonstration and that they probably all
wanted to see the game also.

At about 2.45pm we moved out of the car park. There
was a lot of imagination on display in this
demonstration. Cork had provided a black coffin with
the words 'Neutrality' on it. This led the slow
funeral procession out of the car park and down the
road to Shannon airport. It was trailed by people
dressed in black with white face paint on and blood
red hands. There was a Charlie chaplain like figure on
stilts looking very sad indeed. On either side of the
coffin there was the Red and black anarchists flags.
There was a Palestinian flag flying also lest we
forget the genocide that Sharon's army is committing
there.

Someone had brought along a ghetto blaster and a slow
mournful requiem was being played for auld Irelands
mythological reality contained in the black box. The
darkness that was in evidence earlier in the day had
disappeared and the sun shone down brilliantly on this
scene. It reminded me of something that you would see
on the set of a Fellini film. I don't really know what
the local people who came to the door steps to witness
the crowd of about a hundred file slowly past their
houses made of it.

I looked up and saw the sun glint though the flag and
though it looked like old propaganda shots from the
Spanish civil war. The mood was fairly sombre and we
had many changes of pall bearers. Once again some of
the local kids came down to join us in masks and white
boiler suits. After about 40 minutes we turned the
corner so that we could see Shannon airport up in the
distance. Just about 50 yards in front of where the
peace camp had been there was a line of 30 of so cops.
Then stretching both sides of this line with crash
barriers - there was Gardai stretching into the
distance on the far side of a 12 foot wide dyke.

There was a lot of triple time over time being made by
the lads and lassies in florescent yellow. This
peaceful march was going no further. They made that
abundantly clear. We sang songs and had a speak out
with the megaphone being left on the coffin for all to
come up and have a few words. The state was criticised
its role in intimidating and harassing us. It was also
taken to task for not letting us have a peaceful
demonstration to the terminal. In fact we weren't
allowed to get to the sign that welcome's people to
Shannon airport.

Caoimhe Butterly (an activist who has spent a
significant part of her time in Palestine) made a very
moving plea to the female gardai present to look into
their hearts on this Mothers day and themselves what
they were doing by protecting this pit-stop for the US
war machine. Tim and others explained to the people
the harassment that they've continually experienced
when they have simply been trying to document the
planes that are using this airport. Another speaker
asked the guards to raise their hands if they were in
favour of the war. It appeared to all present then
that they all opposed the war when they failed to
react to the question.

Songs were sung. Chants of shame were cried out. An
Iraqi woman spoke of the many various kinds of people
from different religions who were being slaughtered
indiscriminately by the US. She also chanted the
various names for God in Arabic. A small girl came up
and said the following statement "I don't care what
you guards say, This war is Wrong".

Myself and a friend were informed by the inspector
that we were out of line when we strayed 10 yards to
the left of the demonstration to have a look at the
obstacles in our way. It's amazing to think of the
arrogance and power that pervades - the force - since
they've brought into being the public order act. It
appears that they can and will try to tell you where
you can stand on a public road.

Finally we had 4 women pall bearers slowly march up to
the crash barriers and hand in the coffin for Irish
neutrality. They refused to take it of course. As one
speaker illustrated the last time martial law was
enacted in Clare the black and tans we there. It now
appears that Bertie imposes martial law around his
precious refuelling dump for the UASF every time GNAW
call for a protest there.

In a most apt moment three demonstrators sat on the
road in front of the army of Guardai who had stared
stoically at proceedings for over an hour without
reaction and mimed the three monkeys. See no evil,
hear no evil, speak no evil. That appears to be the
role of many people have adapted for themselves in
regard to this war.

We promised to be back and with a far bigger crowd of
demonstrators. As much as they would like their
compliant use of Shannon will not fade away.
Especially when you see the pictures of fried corpses
on the front pages of your daily newspapers and you
know that the bomb that killed them could well have
been flown though County Clare.

It was dark and late when we finally rolled into
Dublin. The DJ on the radio was playing AC/DC 'If you
want blood' and I thought perversely it was
appropriate. Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair and Ahern have
spilled the blood of innocent people. They've got that
on their hands and it appears that's what they wanted
all along. I for one can't see what else this war has
achieved.

Report with pictures online at
http://struggle.ws/wsm/news/2003/shannonM31.html

Next demonstrations
This Wed from 19.30 ? blocade? of the Dail in Dublin
Saturday 12th mass civil disobediance at Shannon

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