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Street Hassle

category dublin | summit mobilisations | press release author Tuesday April 20, 2004 15:07author by D - Wizzumauthor email comrade at imapunk dot com Report this post to the editors

On being hassled by the jack booted boys in blue for simply trying to advertise Mayday.

In the meantime let me start this contribution with a poem by Pat Ingolsby.

CONVERSATION WITH A GARDA IN
GRAFTON STREET

A couple of years back I paused in Grafton Street
and leaned against a litter bin to listen to a busker.

A large garda appeared beside me.

“Are you selling anything that you shouldn’t be selling?”
he said.

“I’m just enjoying the sunshine and the music”

“Yeah but are you selling anything that you shouldn’t
be selling”

“I’m simply enjoying the music.”

PAUSE

“You’re wearing an awful lot of jewellery all the same.”

“That is none of your business” I said.

“I was just making conversation” he said.

Lovely.



I myself have enjoyed a number of conversations over the last week with the Gardaí. One conversation was with two undercover boys, tubs and Crockett, we shall call them who caught me red handed putting a sticker about may day on a lamppost. I was informed that it was a ‘serious offence’ which I found unlikely given number of crimes that these boys have to solve.

Crockett asked me if I had a problem with the gards and I rapidly responded “NO.” To respond yes to this question would be comparable to ticking the yes box to the question “Are you an international terrorist?” on the USA landing form. Not a good idea.
Then more recently I was meeting up with some friends at the Central bank and walked away from them when I saw the squad car pull up in front of us. Lo and behold if another boy in blue didn’t appear in front of me, unfolding his notebook and looking for my name and address. My response this time was a little less controlled. “What the fuck is this about? Have I broken a law, hanging outside the Central bank with friends….Every Saturday you could arrest a hundred teenagers if that’s against the law.” I was informed to be nice, he was only doing his job, and that I was ‘loitering.’ I love when they invoke some ancient brit law to hassle, you. I refused to give them my date of birth, as they want that for their Pulse database of dangerous people who disseminate ideas against Capitalism. You do no have to give them your date of birth.

Cop no. 2 was busy taking the names of my friends when I re-joined them. I told him there were two cyclists having a conversation over there and would he care to take their names also. He gave the same line; I’m just doing my job. Well I’m sick of that fucking line. You make decisions in your life or you’re a dead fish, going with the flow. You DECIDE to become a police man and that means you put yourself on a side. Your job is to hassle people who are trying to orgainse peaceful protests. Your job is to intimidate activists and people from abroad. Your job is to remove your numbers and batter people if you so wish. Your job is to break picket lines in strikes so that scabs can get though. I’ve been political and working for over twelve years in Dublin and the only time I’ve ever seen violence on a demo was when the cops lost the run of themselves. DECIDE on a better job boy, and let people get on with organising peaceful protests.

author by Mrs Doylepublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 15:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...and sometimes, man, they just don't act rational you know, they think they're just on TV... " as yer man Lou Reed sang in dat song. Maybe he'd anticipated the advent of cops like Detective Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney) in Intermission, which, I understand, is being used as a training fillum in Templemore.

author by Fastidiouspublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't be ridiculous. How does that effort in any way meet the criteria of poetic form?

author by trollspotterpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ignoring the blatant sexism of the moron presuming all gardai are men, and his long winded lefty rant (adapted from trainspotters but without the wit) on the word DECIDE, i dont believe his righteous bogus story about the central bank........

these sort of lies are designed to stir it up before mayday

so Fuck off troll.......................

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's true. 8 witnesses all agree. Why throw accusations around when you clearly don't have a clue what you are talking about? (and can you access Indymedia from PULSE anyway?)

author by M45publication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would commend the Gardai for the great work that they do in the face of provocation from people who don’t even know half the time why they are on the streets. I hope that the may day protest passes of peacefully but i think that in order deter idiots from attacking private property it will necessary to have a really large garda presence. The gardai should not start trouble but certainly if it does begin then they should stamp it out as quickly as possible.

author by Mrs Doylepublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 17:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...in convincing anybody that they are indeed "guardians of the peace" when all of their PR, for want of a better expression, reactions and cosy relationship with the fourth estate shows them up to be otherwise. Let's not forget their demonstration to protect their own interests called the Blue Flu.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why give even your name to someone who is only trying to bother you? If someone is trying to solve a mystery or investigate a crime, I guess it's only right if you try to help them. Perhaps under some circumstances that may include providing them with your name and contact details.

If you have not been arrested, and you have no reason to believe that the people (police or other) enquiring about your details are in fact trying to solve a mystery of some import, I can't see why you'd bother to help them. It's not their job to hassle citizens, and its not as if they've solved all the blindingly obvious crimes being commissioned in Ireland (e.g. Garda collusion with Shannon gun-running).

Don't bother give them a false name or anything misleading like that. It'd be an offence, and furthermore a waste of everybody's time. Just say in a calm, friendly manner "no, I will not tell you my name". They might press you, even try to trick you to give them your name. Just remain calm and friendly: "No, I won't tell you my name".

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 18:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think so. I think "trollspotter" is being a little disingenuous. Oh yes.

I don't see how this is a "long-winded" rant. It's quite short (unless all you're used to reading are license plate numbers, dog registration forms and The Sun).

No, I think this is a good first hand account of a pathetic attempt by a grovelling kapo to intimidate activists. The point is well made that many of these gits are not "just doing their job". They're acting out power fantasies and throwing away their humanity. No shred of decency with many of these boyos (and w.r.t. sexism none of the pigs that battered unarmed women and men at the RTS party were women -- they were all overfed men)!

author by Starstruck - UCD Leftpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 19:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ah leave the lads alone.Sure theyre only doing what theyre paid to do.
Ye cant get a decent donut anywhere in the city centre these days,thatd explain the bad mood the piggery showed to ye man...

author by blu flupublication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 19:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

dispute over working conditions.
Working conditions dictated by the government.

Action taken?

stop patroling ordinary residential areas, but, by all means, show up to stand guard at Bertie's door.

author by Own or Eoin?publication date Tue Apr 20, 2004 22:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of anyone listens to the rantings as above from Eoin (Own) self governing self centered Dubsky, they need to do get a grip of themselves. Its advice like this that DOES get you arrested. Date of birth is a part of a normal investigative process that helps confirms an identity. Failure to give it may not be an offence, but sows a seed in the mind of the enquirer that the person may be giving false details.

author by Tpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 01:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you don't have to give your date of birth, then why give it?

author by James - WSMpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 11:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Low-level stuff, but the hassle continues. Two gardai stopped grassroots people while leafletting door-to-door in Stoneybatter last night! They asked for names but the leafletters declined to give them. Cops demanding names for leafletting is getting close to a police-state.

author by mepublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Date of birth is a part of a normal investigative process that helps confirms an identity."

why should I help them identify me if I have done absolutely nothing wrong.

Secondly your participating in their game of intimidation when you start giving information just because some randomer in blue asks for it.

author by baby joseph grew up into Iosaf the wisepublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 13:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

why did you not publish all findings of your inquiries into birth and adoption malpractise in Ireland from the foundation of the state to the mid 1970s?
Now we can do this the proper way, ahem or we can do it the creepy way.
hinty hinty:-
Who was De Valera's daddy?

We will "all" have our long awaited truth.
who were our fathers and mothers?
when were we really born?
there have to many inconsistencies in the natural parent searches. We deserve truthful explanations. No you blue shirts?

author by Idiotpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

James you said: 'Cops demanding names for leafleting is getting close to a police-state'.

Seems like you've got a different idea of a police state than me, but you wrote it with such conviction, such knowledge of your moral stance. If only all of us had a piece of your innocence and had to feel the cruel hand of state oppression that you have so clearly felt then we would know of a better world.

ha ha

author by Noise Hackpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On the back cover of his Poetry CD 'My Own Voice' the following text appears:

"RUNNING TIME: 15 SECONDS IF THE GARDAI ARE COMING"

author by spampublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

anytime anyone tries to put commercial literature / flyers etc in their door between now and mayday - and demand that they come down and take their names - just say to them that nasty anarchists are giving you leaflets you don't want ;-)

author by Badmanpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2004 22:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Leafleters in the Cabra area were tonight also followed by police, stopped and asked for names. So when did they make leafleting illegal?

author by comparisonpublication date Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Cops demanding names for leafletting is getting close to a police-state."

No it's not. Not in any way, shape or form is that sort of action getting close to a police state. That sort of comment enrages me. Using words like "police state" to describe the Gardai doing their job (ie, checking suspicious looking people - I'd hazard a guess that the leafletters didn't look like Jehovah's Witnesses or door-to-door salesmen) risks seriously cheapening the concept.

If we start describing every action taken by the police we disagree with as being "close to a police state", then how do we describe a real police state? How is there a moral equivalence between asking leafletters for their names and disappearing 30,000 people, as Pinochet did in Chile? How is it seriously comparable to executing dissidents by firing squad and billing the dissident's family for the bullets?

Don't cheapen concepts. A police state is something truly horrific, not a possibly overzealous Garda checking up on people going door-to-door.

author by Joepublication date Thu Apr 22, 2004 13:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 'close to a police state' phrase is perhaps somewhat alarmist but lets not reduce the meaning of a police state to a regime willing to murder 30,000 people. That occurred during a coup, there are many stable police states that exist on the day to day level without resorting to that level of murder. Egypt would be a case in point as would Morrocco.

What people often mean by 'police state' is a state that attempts to regulate what sort of political ideas its citizens can be exposed to and restricts their right to protest. I was stopped and questioned by police while leafletting in Cabra last night and the grounds given to me were the contents of the leaflet being delivered. It lists what the DGN see as problems with the direction the EU is going in (text at http://struggle.ws/eufortress/whyprotest.html)

No pretence was made that we were acting suspicously and in fact we refused to give our names on the grounds that what we were doing was neither illegal nor suspicious. As the cops involved gave in they obviously felt uncomfortable with their powers here. The problem in other words was the ideas were were distributing to the public.

This and the de facto ban on large demonstrations for the May weekend (see mondays Irish Times ) can appear to be a situation 'close to a police state' when your the one being stopped in a Cabra cul-de-sac by a van full of cops at dusk. Typing away in an office by day such remarks can seem alarmist of course but I think you'd be making better use of your time complaining about the actions of the cops involved.

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/eufortress
author by Ann on a mousepublication date Thu Apr 22, 2004 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

was asked above.

Well, now... most of us are instinctively opposed to nosey parkers.
Our parents told us not to talk to strangers.
people who don't know you, don't act friendly towards you but want to know where you live THAT is suspicious, and it does not engender trust.

And what's this about not looking like a jehovah's witness? Are we assuming dreadlocks and worn elbows here? What's inherently suspicious about that?

Now, if a refusal to give your details is suspicious, then what can be said about the motives of a cop who won't give his/her name to you?

author by Johnpublication date Mon Apr 26, 2004 06:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't carry identification, cannabis, anything that's illegal etc. Be polite if they stop you but say as little as possible. Bring a camera, notepad, pen etc.. If you feel youre being harrassed, (quietly) take their details & post up them, photos, audio and/or footage on the internet. Take their badge numbers, the number plates of their vehicles. If they ask you what you're doing explain very politely that you're being harrassed and you're taking details for when you make a complaint. And if you do feel youre being continuously followed & harrassed - irrespective of WHO is doing it - you have every RIGHT to (attempt to) make a complaint at a Garda station.
The worst thing you can do is give them an excuse though, so don't react angrily or shout abuse or break the law and be POLITE. There's nothing they can do - legally - to stop you in that case.

Because the law is on YOUR side. Don't let police state tactics win out.

As to that other poster, "suspicious" people don't go around door-to-door delivering leaflets early in the evening. The Gardai knew damn well what they were doing and they were trying to harass them. I doubt if they'd follow Fine Gael candidates around for advocating mass-murder in the Iraq war or the PDs for inciting hatred against immigrants. (No I'm not saying that is true of the PDs & Fine Gael but the Gardai could harrass them on similarly spurious grounds if they wanted to).

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