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The right to protest

category dublin | summit mobilisations | press release author Monday April 19, 2004 22:52author by Laurence Cox - Dublin Grassroots Networkauthor email lcox at iol dot ieauthor phone 087-9851029 Report this post to the editors

Robert Allen comments at book launch

Author Robert Allen has sharply criticised restrictions on the right to protest arising out of state responses to the forthcoming protests during the May Day weekend and the EU-US summit in June. Allen will be speaking on the subject in Maynooth this Wednesday.


The right to protest has become a serious social issue, says author Robert Allen on the occasion of the launch of his latest book, No Global, about the Irish community resistance to the globalisation of hazard.

"Legitimate protest and genuine legal challenge have suddenly become human rights issues as bureaucrats, judges and politicians bow to the rules of globalisation and the New World Order," he says.

Referring to the forthcoming May Day celebrations and the protest against the visit of US President George W. Bush,
Allen said it has become clear that the concerns of the people are now secondary to the whims of globalisation and paranoia of the USA.

"Peaceful protest and the raising of genuine social concerns has, it appears from the paranoid reaction of some politicians, become something akin to a Hollywood scenario of 'striking a blow against the empire'.

"This is the real world," says Allen, "not some kind of 21st century Philip K. Dick novel with bands of armed anarchists roaming decaying cities looking for chinks in the empire's fortress. It seems some people have been watching too much television."

"All of a sudden the right to protest against asylum policy, privatisation, war, undesirable development and the lack of democracy is being warped into a threat against the state and world order," says Allen. "It's time we started realising that we have a constitution in this country that protects citizens' rights and allows them to challenge illegitimate policy and governmental abuse of what is
supposed to be a democratic system."

Robert Allen will be giving a talk on A Sense of Place: Irish Community Resistance to the Globalisation of Hazard at 11am in the Crolly Room, St Patrick's Building, South Campus, NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare on Wednesday, April 21 and following it at 1pm with a discussion on the right to protest.

No Global is published on April 26 by Pluto Ireland. The author is available for interview at the event.
Contact: Dr Laurence Cox, or 087-9851029

Related Link: http://www.bluegreenearth.com
author by Joepublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PJ Stone is 'famous' for claiming the satarical magazine 'the slate' was responsible for the May day riots. Seems like he is at work again. Both protests he lists (Genoa and Gothenburg) saw massive state directed media hype beforehand (like Dublin) and were to see protesters being shot by police. One was killed in Genoa, 3 were injured, one very seriously in Gothenburg! He reckons this is an argument for arming the Gardai on Mayday !?!??!?!?!

May Day use of unarmed gardai criticised
Conor Lally

(Irish Times, 20.4.04, p. 3)

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has called into question
plans to use unarmed gardai on front-line riot duty on May Day, saying
no other police force in the EU would deploy officers in this maner. The
association's general secretary, Mr P.J. Stone, has warned the plans
may lead to very significant numbers of gardai being injured.

Mr Stone added violent protestors responsible for anti-globalisation riots
at a G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, in 2001, which left one protestor dead
and 1,000 police officers injured, are planning to come to Ireland for the
forthcoming May Day celebrations. In this context, plans to use unarmed
gardai as the first line of defence may prove unwise, he said.

"After the EU summit in Gothenburg in 2001, 25 per cent of the officers
deployed on the ground were injured. Do we need these types of
statistics here? Only then would it reinforce the view that we should
have taken a more definitive view on policing," Mr Stone said.

In the latest issue of the Garda Review, the official GRA magazine, he
said it may be impossible to avoid serious civil disobedience in Dublin
despite the significant preparations that have been made by the force.
He said 1,000 of the 11,000 police officers on duty in Genoa in 2001
had been injured despite the fact they were all "protected by the very
best of equipment and shields.

" We believe that most of those people who were involved in this protest
[in Genoa] will soon be arriving in Ireland to create the same fear and
aggression. It is now expected that An Garda Siochana, as an unarmed
police force, will deal with such violent thuggery if it manifests itself on a
massive scale.

"One never wants to presume that any situation will get out of hand. But
so much preparation needs to be carried out that it boggles the mind as
to how we can prevent it, especially if so many people arrive here fully
intent on committing violence to highlight their cause on the streets of
our capital."

Gardai and the Army have for months been preparing for riots in Dublin
on May 1st, when a special ceremony of EU heads of state will take
place at Farmleigh to mark the entry into the EU of 10 accession states.
It is expected that around 4,000 officers will be on duty in Dublini on the
day. While 1,000 of these will be equipped with special riot gear, they
will only be called on to assist front-line unarmed gardai if the need
arises. Gardai will use water cannon to disperse crowds if rioting breaks

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