Cops assault locals, activists and anarchists at Rossport anti-Shell protest in Ireland
ireland / britain |
community struggles |
Saturday November 18, 2006 23:09 by Joe - WSM
Articles from the Workers Solidarity Movement on Nov 10th attack
November 10th saw the Gardai assault numerous protesters at Rossport in Co. Mayo. The local community have been engaged in a long running campaign against Shell and Statoil who are trying to impose a dangerous experimental gas pipeline on them. The articles here are from the WSM about the events of Nov 10th.
College of Rossport images from indymedia.ie, James is on bottom right
Eyewitness to Gardai attacks in Rossport 10 Nov.
This is the account of James - a WSM member from Cork - of what happened to him at the November 10th day of action in Rossport. James was the person with the bloody face (above) whose image was featured on indymedia and the TV3 footage of the event.
Report on Rossport Day of Action November 10th
This is a personal account of what I saw going on.
I arrived in late Thursday night shagged as it's a long haul from Cork. Presented with the various plans I decided in the morning to go to Ballinaboy. In hindsight I might say it might have been of more value going to one of the quarries but there was not sufficient time to assess this on the Thursday night.
I arrived at Ballinaboy at 6am. There was no one there but us. As soon as we arrived Gardai are deployed blocking the junction keeping us from the Bangor road and the site road. As morning wore on numbers increased on both sides.
It was still dark and a number of us worked our way through woods and bog to get to the Bangor road. As soon as I walked onto the road I was grabbed by Gardai and lifted back to the line and dumped on the ground. I immediately set off through wods again. I crossed the road and had an argument with the Gardai who attempted to push me down the road.
I climbed into a field and used the private property protection(shame shame). I crossed river and hung around the bridge trying to link up with others. Eventually the convoy came . Gardai ran into the bog an brought me down. One Garda RG25 punched me in my stomach whilst I was laying on the ground. I was then thrown into the back of a Garda van and driven back to the junction.
Here the drama was unfolding. Garda lines had been breached and two blocks of protestors now existed - one group blocking the road to Ballinaboy and another held by Gardai at the junction. Many activists were floating around the blocked convoy of workers and the trucks. A number of us got around Garda lines and joined the group blocking the road. The Gardai were attempting to weaken the group by selective snatching of people. But people kept strong and once we were dragged away we went around the lines and rejoined that group. I was dragged away but got back again.
An ambulance arrived for Eddie Collins who had a serious back injury from Garda violence. Gardai attempted to rush in after the ambulance in breach of an agreement. Senior Garda warned us to clear the road or face batons. Protestors were non plussed.
Gardai were ordered to draw batons. Some reluctant, some enthusiastic, some scared, some didn't. They advanced on crowd and began hitting people. I was hit twice in the leg by O'Reilly and went down and was then dragged away. I was pushed off the road as the convey sped through the breach. See an opportunity I climbed onto a stalled lorry.
On top I could see protestors had occupied the tops of several lorries. O'Reilly directed the lorry forward but the driver hesitated. O'Reilly demanded Gardai get up on the lorry, there was a marked reluctance. He came up himself and I jumped into the back of the truck where I lay down. I was knealt on and struck with his baton and my arm was twisted until I relented and was lifted off by him and a uniformed Grada who finally got on board. When I was again thrown back through the lines my face was bloodied from being forced into the rocks in the back of the lorry by O'Reilly. They were slowly clearing the other lorries and eventually the convoy got through in full.
I noticed a bus that had a full contingent of riot police, fully tooled up on board. These were stuck behind the lines of protestors who had not managed to push through, mostly elderly and children. Thus rendering their use difficult PR wise.
In my opinion the Garda violence was pre planned and politically directed, both Michael McDowells and Bertie Aherns statements were clearly pre prepared. What was most uplifting about the day was how unbowed, angry and determined the locals were. There was a high level of self discipline, thus the fact that the photos and footage show just Garda violence and no retaliation. More people are needed to make these actions more effective, and more varied tactics. But we have proved that the state has to go to great extremes to maintain this show.
Other reports on this day
End the Siege- Shell to Sea Solidarity Day at Bellanaboy
6.30AM Friday November 24 2006
See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79661 for more
WSM Statement on last Friday's day of action reacting to State Brutality
Last Friday's events in Rossport were a clear example of the brutality of the state; non-violent protesters were viciously assaulted with fists, boots and batons. It is important to remember however, that these events are part of the same logic that saw five men imprisoned for 92 days last year for refusing to allow Shell to construct a dangerous pipeline through their land.
Since the very beginning of this project the State has shown itself more than willing to act as enforcers for big business. As Bertie Ahern said, 'the rule of law must be respected', yesterday's events and the past years of struggle in Rossport prove that the rule of law is the rule of big business. While no extra gardai can be found to protect the people of Moyross in Limerick or other working class areas, the state can afford to spend millions deploying over 200 gardai to Mayo indefinitely.
The police and the politicians have shown what side they are on, it now remains for us, the ordinary people of Ireland to show what side we are on. We can support the people of Rossport by participating in local Shell to Sea groups, by supporting the blockades at Bellanaboy and by picketing local Shell and Statoil petrol stations. We should argue in our unions, through section, branch, conference and Trades Council motions, for the blacking of all work related to the Corrib Project. Let's shut them down.