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(en) Ireland, Another successful day of action against Shell

Date Sat, 17 Nov 2007 00:12:30 +0200


reports from the struggle at Rossport by a WSM member ---- Friday 9th November saw hundreds of people travel from around Ireland to show solidarity with dozens of local Corrib protesters in the latest 'day of action' against the attempt by Shell to impose a dangerous experimental gas pipeline on the community. WSM members from Dublin and Cork took part in the protests, here we present their account of what happened along with a selection of photographs from indymedia.ie. --- I drove up the night before and stayed in the Solidarity Camp, now almost decommissioned. Woke at 5am and was on the road at 5.45 for the assembly point. A dark cold morning walking along the road to meet up with other protesters. Car loads of workers passed on their way into the site early to avoid any blockade. As numbers accumulated a blockade of the road into Gate 2 began. The Gardai were unprepared and a huge tailback developed as they called up reinforcements to clear the road.

As the cars got moving I realised I was part of a group of about 30 isolated behind Garda lines on the road to Gate 2. On the main road the main bulk of the demonstrators were now building up. After a few abortive efforts , including a knee in the back as I was being lifted by two Gardai, I managed to make my way through the woods onto the main road to link up with the main group. We were doing sporadic sit downs on the road and being dragged off by Gardai who, though great in numbers, seemed unable to get the upper hand. Eventually I agreed to get back to my original group and try to get them to break out and join the main body to maximise numbers.

This necessitated another trudge through the boggy woods. I got back to the Garda blockaded group to discover that most of them were after heading off to infiltrate the site and only a handful were left. The Gardai were much more efficient about keeping us in this time. So it is from here I watch the lorry attempting to run the blockade and a rolling struggle spilling up the road. After it had passed beyond us Garda numbers reduced so I got back on the main road again behind Garda lines. From here I witnessed the extraordinary sight of the riot squad marching up the road in formation with only padding and batons - no helmets and shields. Just as they reached the junction they were diverted to face the 17 protesters now left on the Gate 2 road, and uniformed Gardai were withdrawn. There were tense moments before they were boarded into a bus and moved elsewhere and uniformed Gardai took there place. I had been earwigging as the senior Gardai on site discussed their plans and whether to bring in an ambulance from Castlebar for the man who had been run over by the lorry further down the road. I was noticed and marched back in with my fellow companions. Eventually they just let us go and we joined the main crowd.

Here I learned that a Cork comrade Cathal Larkin had been arrested along with two others so I headed for Belmullet Garda barracks to see what could be done. There I learned that he was to be charged at the district court in Swinford so I met with him and arranged to get legal help through the help line being manned by a Solidarity Camp activist. I also contacted the comrades of the other two arrested and we agreed to get a few bodies to Swinford in case bail was needed. At Swinford District court a local solicitor agreed to take the case just for that day and then transfer it to the usual Shell to Sea solicitor. The Gardai tried to make bail conditions awkward for the other two defendants, Dominic McGlinchy and Rob Jackson but in the end they all got bail - Dominic McGlinchy on the ridiculous condition that he sign on at the Garda barracks everyday even though he lives with his wife and children in Galway and Rob Jackson on €1000 cash bail, provided by his friend. This is on a charge of obstruction by the way.

Anyhow I collected Cathal from the court and headed back to camp for some food and rest. There I caught up on the other stories of the day.
WSM members SMS messages from the dayAs part of its preparation for events the WSM arranged for members at the protest to SMS information live to one of our members who couldn't travel but could stay by a computer. This was used to provided a new flow to indymedia.ie, the relevant texts as they were posted are below.

6.47: Gate 2 blocked since 6am

7.10: Situation tense for a group from Cork hemmed in near Gate 2 (gate nearest the bridge). On the road but the guards have half of it.

7.35: The refinery site has been occupied. One group of 30 people have entered and are now occupying the site compound. Meanwhile on the road between the bridge and Gate 2, a group of 90 protesters prevented a truck from from entering the site for about 20 minutes. The truck drove over one person's foot and an ambulance is on its way. One of the blockaders was arrested around the same time.

8:08: The same truck that drove over the protester's foot is still being blockaded from entering the quarry (around 40 minutes at this stage).

08:57 The truck has since got past the blockade of Gate 2 (leaving it blocked for just over an hour). 30/40 local people were actively involved in the blockade. Guards reported as violently dragging people away - punching people in back and stomach. Many guards reported as not wearing their identification numbers.

The blockaders have now joined the group at the main gate to the site and there is a line of gardai (now including the public order unit) between them and the compound gate. Two other arrests have been confirmed aside from the protester blockading Gate 2. Further details on these two arrests to be confirmed.

09:05 One group of about 20 protesters on the site attempted to get past the inner gate (with spikes on top) to the site but suffered minor injuries (cut hands) as well as ripped and torn clothing as the site security prevented them from getting across by pushing them back against the spikes at the top of the gate. Two of the people who succeeded in getting to the inner site were ejected from the site by site security needed first aid but are now on their way up to join the group on the road by the main gate.

09:48 "Shell scared to bring in more trucks. Protestors win the morning at the expense of a serious injury."
Shell's cops and Shell's posters out in force

10:26 Six people have been escorted out of the compound after breaching it via a back entrance. The group managed to breach the inner perimeter and stop work temporarily. There were minor scuffles but security were 'generally nice'.

11:35 3 People are being held in Belmullet Garda station on public order offences.
The Individual who's foot was run over by the truck has sustained serious broken bones.
The protest has wound up a fiar bit wiht people congregated near the main gate and horsebox.

14:56 16 people are currently on site. There are security present but no gardai as of yet. The group is a mix of locals and supporters.

15:01 Security guards assaulting protesters, grabbing cameras, work continuing

15:36 16 protesters have now been escorted off the site. Reports have come in of a fence being thrown on a woman's leg and a local man was carried off the site when he stopped to say a prayer.

RTE news coverage including video at
http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1109/corrib.html

More photos at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84994

Photos from Indymedia.ie

Related Links and pictures at: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=6861
for:
WSM environment articles | WSM community articles | Rossport Still Resists | 14th Sept at Bellanaboy | Shell pipeline letters handed back | Rossport Solidarity Camp Eviction Report | Norway profits while Irish people face jail | Community outrage over unjust sentencing | NGO Report Slams Garda abuse in Mayo | Indymedia Rossport Archive


http://www.wsm.ie
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