éirígí and the anti-G8 protests

g8_belfast_15jun2éirígí activists were heavily involved in protests against the G8 visit to Ireland.

That opposition was based on a simple, but true, premise. This was a visit by eight individuals who have been responsible for war crimes and widespread human rights abuses, and who collectively share a political and economic ideology that has not only crippled Ireland’s economy but which has also condemned tens of millions of people around the world to death as a result of poverty and hunger.

These same war criminals kill their opponents without compunction from a safe distance in order to maintain the position of wealthy and powerful elites around the globe.

The purpose of the G8 visit to Fermanagh was to show how ‘normal’ Britain’s six-county colony in Ireland has become – that the Irish struggle for justice had been defeated. Along with many others, éirígí aligned itself to that respectable minority seeking to prove that notion wrong.

It was evident from the security measures put in place across the Six Counties and which even extended into the Twenty Six Counties that Ireland is a society which is far from ‘normal’. The cost of the British security operation in the Six Counties has been estimated to have been a minimum of £50 million and may also reach double that amount.

Those measures were put in place to prevent and intimidate people from exercising their rights to freedom of political thought, freedom of expression and freedom of conscience.

A special surveillance operation was also put in place to monitor the movements of anti-G8 demonstrators across a wide range of organisational backgrounds including political activists, trade union members and environmental campaigners.

At least one independent news outlet has reported how the PSNI and other British intelligence gathering agencies targeted and tracked key personalities such as long-time civil rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey, Bloody Sunday campaigner and socialist Eamonn McCann, and éirígí’s general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

Anti-G8 protest

While all this was happening, establishment parties and puppet politicians in Stormont and Leinster House welcomed the G8 and cheered at the hypocritical calls for peace from war criminal Obama. They should hang their heads in shame.

éirígí members and supporters in Belfast, Dublin and many other areas were actively engaged in protest against the visit.

In the Six Counties, Britain’s police forces harassed, stopped, questioned and searched éirígí activists. In one case, a party activist was arrested and detained for several hours in Belfast for the ‘subversive offence’ of pasting an anti-G8 poster on a wall. In response, activists quickly staged a protest outside Woodbourne barracks against such outright and repressive political policing. Undeterred by this harassment activists continued putting up posters throughout West Belfast.

Members of other groups and organisations actively opposed to the G8 fared no better.

On Saturday June 15th, amid heavy rain and an even more ridiculously heavy British police presence, an éirígí contingent formed part of the ICTU-organised protest in Belfast city centre. Although threats had been made against éirígí’s participation in the trade union organised demonstration by a newly formed fascist group, the Ulster Defence League, numbers within the éirígí contingent was noticeably larger than expected with many new supporters attending.

Anti-G8 protest

Throughout the weekend and during the G8 visit, éirígí activists dropped banners over the main M1 motorway, visible to all passing traffic, with very clear messages: ‘Imperialists Out of Ireland – G8 Not Welcome’ and ‘G8 – Capitalism Kills’.

On Monday June 17th, a sizeable éirígí contingent with members from both the 6 and 26 Counties took part in the anti-G8 march which commenced in Enniskillen and then snaked its way for several miles along heavily policed country roads to the main outer security fence near the hotel where the G8 leaders were encamped.

At this point, éirígí activists were the first to penetrate the G8’s ‘ring of steel’ and to go over the razor wire. As more anti-G8 opponents followed, riot squads emerged from behind nearby hedgerows while additional British police reinforcements were deployed to the scene.

In this centenary year of the Dublin Lock-Out of 1913, ‘a respectable minority’ re-emerged in Ireland in recent weeks to again challenge the might of the powerful and the wealthy in order to give a voice to the voiceless of many nations and ensure that the true meanings of justice and freedom were heard above hypocritical tones of capital and greed.

This piece first appeared on the eirigi site


Posted on July 8, 2013, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, EU, Internationalism, Irish politics today, Public events - Ireland, six counties, Trade unions. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on éirígí and the anti-G8 protests.

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