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(en) Four arrested in anti-war demonstration in Ireland during 1916 commemorations

Date Mon, 17 Apr 2006 16:19:04 +0300

Sunday saw the Irish government mark the 90th anniversary of
the Easter 1916 insurrection against British imperialism. Some
120,000 turned out to watch a military parade and a fly past. To
coincide with the event anti-war activists, most of them anarchists
were making their way to Baldonnel airbase where the planes and
helicopters involved in the fly past took off from. This airbase has
been used by USA hercules military planes and is suspected to have
been involved in CIA torture flights.
In the run up to the 90th anniversary of 1916 many wondered how
best to mark the event. Some marched the day before, some a few
hours after. But the teflon Taoiseach trod where few men dared. At
12.00 he was at the GPO to commemorate an insurrection against
imperialism. At 15.00 he was sending the troops in against an
anti-imperialist demonstration.

I was one of the few (the very few) who decided that the best place to
mark the anniversary was out at Baldonnel airbase. Home to the
Irish air force and increasingly to US Hercules and rendition / torture
fights. Once Britain demanded the right to use Irish ports to project
its naval power around the globe. Now the USA demands the right to
use our airports to project its military power.

With around 15 others I took part in the Critical Mass that left
Heuston station at 1.45 to make its way to Baldonnel via the Grand
canal. As we passed through Clondalkin we were passed by a bus
load of anarchist youth also heading for Baldonnel. Between us and
another dozen who made their own way there around 70 of us turned

That we were in for a hostile reception was immediately obvious. As
soon as people got off the bus the Gardai moved in to make their first
arrest – of someone who felt the call of nature and had retired
into a field to relieve this. Soon after the car of someone was seized
under a technical pretext.

As we marched to the airport we found not only dozens of Gardai
waiting for us but also over 100 soldiers, the police helicopter and
the Baldonnel fire truck deployed as a water cannon. Bertie was
taking no risks.

Inside the fence the soldiers were ordered into lines, outside the
Gardai travelled on foot, in cars and on bikes. At the main gate to the
airport the Gardai had prepared a protest pen. No one entered it but
we did deliver a statement that we intended to inspect the airport for
weapons and torture flights. A thin blue line formed in front of the
gates and inside a thicker green one as soldiers jogged up to the
gates. We attempted an entry but alas failed in this attempt.

So we marched on around the perimeter of the airfield till we came
to a section where construction work had left a way through to the
perimeter fence. 1-2-3 charge and away the front of the march went
over the hill. The gardai were slow to react but as those at the front
got near the fence soliders in camouflage emerged from the bushs
on the other side.

Nevertheless ropes were soon in place and a pull was started on the
fence – short lived as the arrival of the Lancers of today (bicycle
gardai) interrupted proceedings. With the cavalry in placed the foot
soldiers were given a few vital moments to catch up, throw a few
punches and kicks and make some more arrests.

The arrests as usual were pretty random – but they were more
violent than those seen at recent anti-war demonstrations. People
were punched in the face, throttled and slammed into the ground.
Once on the grounds knees were applied to the neck or boots to the
face. Bertie had given the orders.

Those who were left formed and marched back out of the area to
catch the bus to Clondalkin Gardai station and to demand the release
of our comrades. After a couple of hours they were released and we
retired to Dublin city centre.

So tonight Bertie like McNally before him can sleep sound in his bed
knowing he has struck the republican pose and taken the imperialist
gold at the same time. Unlike Leonard he has done so in public - will
you let him get away with it?

First posted to indymedia.ie, see
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75496 for photographs

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Video footage
by AY - Revolt Video Monday, Apr 17 2006, 11:02am

raw video footage now posted to
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