Priceless Solidarity on the Ha’penny Bridge

Diarmuid Breatnach

 

Palestinian flags and solidarity banners decorated each side of Dublin’s iconic Ha’penny Bridge on Sunday 31st December as people crossing towards both sides of the river passed between people holding flags, wearing kifiyehs or standing under umbrellas in the Palestinian colours. The overwhelming majority of the supporters seemed Irish and could be identified as from a range of socialist and republican backgrounds, whether independent or not.

A bridge of Solidarity (Photo: D.Breatnach)

This is an annual New Year’s Eve event, organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, whose stall had been set up on the south side, near Merchant’s Arch.

On the Boardwalk
(Photo: D.Breatnach)

Two versions of leaflets were being distributed; one which called for an end to the siege of Gaza pointed out that in 1017 a UN report stated that “the unliveability threshold has already been passed there.” Among other recommended actions the leaflet asked people to contact their TDs (Irish parliamentary representatives) and urge them to support Senator Frances Black’s Bill this year which will ban trade with Israeli illegal settlements in Palestine. Those settlements seize Palestinian land and water resources and are illegal by UN declaration.

The west side of the bridge, from the northern side of the river (Photo: D.Breatnach)

According to a report “Between July 2016 and June 2017, Israeli authorities authorized construction work on more than 2,000 new housing units for settlers in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem”, another area of Zionist expansion.

The Bridge was busy (Photo: D.Breatnach)

During the same period, “Israeli authorities destroyed 381 homes and other property, forcibly displacing 588 people as of November 6, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of discriminatory practices that reject almost all building permit applications submitted by Palestinians.”

A closeup on some of the banners on the east side of the bridge.
(Photo: D.Breatnach)

During the Great March of Return protests on Gaza’s border which began in May, Israeli Occupation Force snipers shot dead or caused death by gassing of 168 Palestinians and injured 17,259 people, including women, children, medical workers and journalists. During the same period one Jewish Israeli was killed 11 and injured, six of which were soldiers.

A great many passers-by expressed their approval of the demonstration, some stopping a while to talk with the demonstrators.

It was a child-friendly affair (Photo: D.Breatnach)

Some chanting of Palestinian supporters could be heard as well as occasional passing drivers tooting their horns in solidarity, occasionally with a clenched fist also raised outside the window. A counter-protest planned by the zionist Irish Friends of Israel on Essex Bridge however failed to materialise.

End.

LINKS FOR REFERENCES & FURTHER INFORMATION:

IPSC (an organisation independent of all political parties): www.ipsc.ie

Information and statistics: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/israel/palestine

Biased Wikipedia entry which however could not disguise the casualty statistics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Gaza_border_protests

 

 

 

 

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