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(en) Workers Solidarity #75 - The March 1st action at Shannon

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 8 Apr 2003 11:03:58 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

If you were anywhere in Ireland in the last
week of February you can't have missed the
hype ahead of the March 1st direct action
called at Shannon by the Grassroots
Network Against the War (GNAW).
Suddenly every politician, reporter and
even bishop in the country was joining the
queue to denounce the planned 'violent'
protest. The morning before the protest
irony died on its feet when Sinn Fein
announce it was pulling out of the
unrelated Irish Anti War Movement protest
at the airport for fear of violence.

You probably missed all the reports in the paper
after Saturday when the same people queued up
to issue apologies to GNAW. Really they should
have read the publically available GNAW plan for
the day line two of which read; "This action will be
an example of mass non-violent civil disobedience
in the tradition of Gandhi's salt march."

On the day some 300 people braved the media
hype and the attacks from other sections of the
anti war movements to take part in the GNAW
action. We marched up to the airport beneath
white flags to find row after row of Gardai, dog
units and tooled up riot cops waiting for us.

Arriving at the fence everyone linked arms and
formed a long line. We then slowly walked
forward until we came into contact with the line
of Gardai. We had hoped that at this point we
would massively outnumber them and be able to
simply walk around them. They were obviously
worried about this as well as their senior officer
was quoted before the protest as saying that it
would be impossible to guard 7km of perimeter
with 500 men but they would try their best.

After some time we did however manage to catch
the Gardai on the hop simply by walking sideways.
This opened up a gap in their ranks. Seizing the
opportunity people walked up to the fence or
threw crude grappling hooks attached to ropes to
the top of the fence and started to pull it down.

In the space of a couple of seconds the fence had
started to peel off from the top and cops had
come charging in, rugby tackling people to the
ground, grabbing the ropes and generally shoving
people around. Most of the 10 arrests made on the
day happened around this point.

March 1st at Shannon was the last pre-war chance
to stop refuelling there. I have little doubt that if
other sections of the anti-war movements had
argued against the media 'there will be violence'
hype instead of repeating it then sufficient
numbers of people would have taken part to
simply walk around the Gardai as planned. The
fence would have been removed and a thousand
people or more would have entered the airport
perimeter. That is not what happened so US war
planes continue to use Shannon to refuel on their
way to the war.

The anti-war movement needs to grow up fast. It
is not the case that everyone needs to agree to do
the same thing. It is the case that we need to
respect the diversity of tactics argued by different
groups rather then trying to undermine the
actions of those we disagree with for political
gain. US war planes can be driven out of Shannon
but we need to work together to achieve this.

Andrew Flood

This page is from the print version of the
Irish Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.

Print out the PDF file of this issue

Print out the PDF file of the most recent issue

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