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Welcome to the weekend
summit mobilisations |
Saturday May 01, 2004 00:35 by 1 of DGN - Dublin Grassroots Network
for everyone out there who wants to change things
This is the DGN statement released at the press conference today. Says who we are, what we are doing and why, and what's happening. Thanks to everyone who turned up at Critical Mass for starting to turn these visions into reality.
Welcome to the weekend
Welcome to the real celebration
Dublin Grassroots Network, April 30th
We've come a long way together. Peace activists from Shannon, solidarity volunteers from Palestine, Reclaim the Streets party-goers, community workers, radical trade unionists, American footballers, Ecotopia veterans, survivors of Genoa, long-time organisers, first-time protestors, friends from far and near:
Welcome to the weekend.
They said we wanted to burn Blanchardstown shopping centre. They said we wanted to gas Bertie. They said we had arms dumps, a secret army, plans for mayhem. They said we wore funny clothes. They claimed to have "infiltrated" open meetings. They wrote hatchet jobs on us. They demonised friends from abroad.
We said they were lies at the time, and we have been proved right. Corrupt journalists, security "experts", loud-mouthed windbags have spent the last week backtracking, minimising or staying quiet. They have not been able to face us and repeat their allegations. Truth does have some power, even in this world of government spin, anonymous security sources and media conglomerates.
They said: here are the truncheons. Here is the riot squad. Here are the water cannon. Here is the tear gas. Here are the armed gardai. Here is the army. Here is the razor wire. Here are the detention centres. Here are the undercover cops.
But we are not afraid. And the thousands of other people who have come out to join us, from Coolock and Clondalkin, from Cork and Castlebar, from Camden and California, have not been intimidated. We are here in our thousands to make our voice be heard.
We are banging pans and blowing whistles against Fortress Europe. We are singing and marching against privatisation. We are bringing street theatre and puppets against EU militarism. We are speaking out against social injustice.
And we are standing up for democracy: for the right to protest, for the freedom of opinion and assembly, for a world in which people work together directly to control their own lives, their own work and their own communities, for a world which puts people before money and where the planet is cherished, not abused.
We are going on a Critical Mass cycle ride at half five today. At ten AM tomorrow, our No Borders morning of street theatre starts. At 2.30, our Reclaim the City events against privatisation. At 11 on Sunday morning we leave for the No Borders camp. And at 3 pm on Monday, we chill out at the Reclaim the Streets party. The street party the Government couldn't get together.
If you don't know where to find us, look under the helicopter.
Some of you may be wondering: what is happening on Saturday evening? Why didn’t you mention the noisy march to Farmleigh? Well, they have banned it. For the first time since the Dublin Lockout, they have had the nerve to suspend the freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate.
Last night, on Prime Time, the gardai announced their plans. The riot squad will be waiting at Parkgate Street, the meeting point for the march. They will prevent demonstrators congregating. In plain English this means: if you try to get to the march, we will attack you. This is a recipe for a massacre.
We have no intention of being massacred. We are calling on everyone who cares about democracy, everyone who cares about free speech, everyone who cares about the right to protest, to join us at the GPO, at the same time, 6 pm on Saturday, to protect the right to protest and show them that they cannot stop us.
But government hype and media saturation mean that there are hundreds or thousands of people who will be coming to Parkgate Street, and who we have no way of contacting. What is going to happen to them? What will they do when the riot squad “attempt to prevent them from congregating”? Is the government trying to start a riot?
We were told the policing of protest had got more professional after they hospitalised a dozen party-goers at Reclaim the Streets two years ago. Indeed it has. The new way to police protests is to stop them happening. But we will still be protesting.
We don’t have leaders. We don’t have stewards. That means we have to look after ourselves and each other. We are told there will be undercover cops from Ireland, Britain and Italy at the demos. In Genoa, many believe that undercover cops smashed windows and tried to start fights between protestors and police.
If you see disguised policemen, don't fight them. Surround them peacefully and calmly, talk to them, and stop them if they are endangering others. Don't get paranoid: honey attracts wasps. But honey is still sweet, and we still have picnics in the sun.
This weekend will still be cheerful despite the wasps. It will still be friendly despite the threats. It will still be colourful despite the riot squad. We have learned over the years to trust each other as people who care enough to make an effort, as activists who know what they are doing, as good friends. Now we want to expand that circle and bring more people in.
Dublin is part of Europe. The real Europe, of our friends in Poland who are experiencing the same repression now they are joining the EU as they did previously. The same repression we are experiencing. The Europe of the May Day protests in Milan and Barcelona. The Europe of low-paid workers, of migrants, of Indymedia activists, of radical lifestyles, of centuries of struggles for the right to protest.
But Dublin is also part of the world. And this weekend Irish activists who have worked with indigenous people in Mexico and trade unionists in Colombia, with independent media in the US and environmentalists in Australia, with roads protests in Britain and social centres in Italy, with farming women in Africa and democracy movements in Asia, these Irish activists are coming together.
Bringing it all back home.
And to all our other friends, old and new, from Dublin and all over Ireland, from Britain and Europe, from America north and south, from Africa and Asia, however you came here, whatever the issue that touches your heart, whatever clothes you wear, whatever music you like –
Welcome to Dublin.
Welcome to the weekend.
Welcome to the real celebration!
Dublin Grassroots Network spokespersons: