This is what happens when members of the political establishment, the governing coalition parties and the sycophantic right-wing national press, conspire together to present ordinary citizens protesting the imposition of iniquitous taxes on a population already straining under the weight of austerity-driven, elites’-shielding economic policies as a “sinister fringe“. The videos below are from a demonstration yesterday at the grandiose offices of Fingal County Council in the Dublin north county town of Swords, where several women with the Right2Water campaign were injured in a confrontation with gardaí and private security personnel. Accounts from local sources indicate that at least three female activists had tried to enter the building to stage an impromptu sit-down protest in the lobby when they were trapped in the main entrance-way by gardaí and council-employed staff. It is claimed that a garda then smashed a plate-glass panel in the revolving-doorway so that the protesters could be physically dragged out of the building and along the ground, resulting in one woman requiring emergency first aid from an ambulance crew.
The Fine Oibre coalition led by Enda Kenny and Joan Burton must be made to answer for its orchestrated demonisation in the media and elsewhere of those who politically oppose its right-wing administration or its policies. The place to do that will be at the next general election. Bring it on!
UPDATE 20.00: Statement from Balbriggan & Surrounding Areas Against Water Charges in Relation to Protest at Fingal County Hall on Monday April 13th.
“Yesterday afternoon, approximately 30 residents from Balbriggan & Surrounding areas Against Water Charges, organised a protest outside the monthly meeting of Fingal County Council in County Hall Swords.
The protest was convened in support of a motion opposing water charges and Irish Water, which has been on the agenda since November. Protests have been held at all of the monthly meetings, and we have enjoyed a civil relationship with the Swords Gardai who have been in attendance at those protests.
The protest was good-natured and peaceful, although a large Garda presence was in place.
During the protest, a number of protestors made their way to the Council building attempting to stage a peaceful sit-down protest in lobby. However, they were blocked in the revolving door of the building as Council security prevented them from getting any further. The protestors sat in the doorway and remained there for about 15 minutes, when without warning, Gardai who had been brought in from Coolock, attempted to remove them. Access to the building had not been impeded during this time as another door was open.
Two protestors were removed from the door. The Gardai then attempted to remove three women who were further inside the door. The women warned that the Gardai who were pushing both ways, were in danger of breaking the door. They also stated that they were being hurt. However, the Gardai continued to push, and the door shattered on top of the women, who were then dragged through the door.
Requests to the Gardai to seek medical help were refused. A protestor then contacted an ambulance who treated the women on the spot. They then went to the Swords Garda station where a complaint was logged.
The women were injured, are bruised and in shock after the incident, and have engaged medical and legal representation.
We will be making no public statements on the matter as they are pursuing a complaint through the offices of the Garda Ombudsman. We are appealing for respect for the privacy of the individuals concerned and would like to express our appreciation to everyone around the country and beyond for all of your messages of support.
We would like to assure you that our resolve to oppose these unjust water charges is stronger than it ever was. We believe that heavy handed tactics by the state represent their weakness, not their strength.”