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(en) Ireland, Dublin anti-war demo

From <klasbatalemo@yahoo.ie>
Date Tue, 18 Feb 2003 20:49:32 +0100 (CET)

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

Last Saturday, February 15th, saw the largest
demonstration in Dublin since the 1970?s.
Approximately 150,000 (though figures vary, with the
mainstream media cutting this number by half) people
from dozens of different organisations and most from
none gathered at the Garden of Remembrance to
demonstrate their outrage at the upcoming war with
Iraq. The use of the Garden of Remembrance as a
meeting point was not unusual, though the sheer mass
of numbers gathered all around Parnell Square and
spilling out onto O?Connell Street was evidence of the
massive popular disapproval in Ireland at the
incipient escalation of hostilities against Iraq and
in particular, of the use of Shannon airport as a
refuelling depot for the U.S. military in transit.

At a meeting of the Grassroots Gathering anti-war
network hours beforehand, it was agreed that direct
action at Shannon, which has proven so successful in
isolation over recent months, must now mobilise vastly
greater numbers if it is to have an real impact on
stopping the military build up at the airport.
Thousands of protestors, participating in a mass
direct action at Shannon, is the only way that we can
achieve our ultimate goals. Unless the Gardai (Irish
police)) are prepared for a bloodbath of epic
proportions, our collective strength should protect us
from physical assault, and hopefully from mass arrest.

(As for the latter, it is essential that a support
network be created for those activists who will end up
under lock and key at the end of the day. Groups like
the Dublin-based Anarchist Support 


should be contacted if the finances to bail arrested
comrades is to be raised. Nationwide, delegates from
different anti-war groups must coordinate some sort of
financial provision for arrestees.)

At the meeting it was largely felt that there should
be widespread publicity for the actions to be
undertaken on March 1st. Proposals for action are
being taken back to the different groups around the
country which form the grassroots network.  

Seventy per cent of people in this country are against
the use of Shannon as a warport. A small fraction of
these numbers at Shannon in two weeks time will go a
long way to outstrip the myth that our place is at the
polling booth every four years. Our voice can be heard
whenever we want it to be heard.

What is important is that the libertarian movement in
Ireland is able to impact on those who do not see
direct action as an option. Our numbers need to be
large enough to weigh against the expectant storm
troopers of the state that will be on parade on March
We need a propaganda machine to be put in action over
the next few weeks which will draw the kind of support
that was obvious for all to see on Saturday in Dublin
and Belfast. 
We need to persuade, for example, workers at Shannon
of their manipulation as pawns in an endgame which is
allowing Ireland to be used as an airstrip for foreign
We need the growth of local anti-war groups engaging
in direct action against companies like Top Oil  


who provide the aviation fuel at Shannon. Why? Because
actions can be mounted for those unable to make
Shannon for geographic reasons, and because the
concept of direct action can be localised. A Top Oil
boycott meanwhile would really help to forge the link
between the militarisation of Shannon and one of the
main reasons for this war in the first place: oil.
Most importantly, we must build on the tidal wave of
protest that flowed through our towns and cities last
weekend. Otherwise, we will still be walking in
(albeit bigger, noisier and more colourful) circles.


A personal report from a member of the Anarchist
Federation (Ireland)


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