With thanks from Dublin Anti-Internment Committee’s FB page End Internment
DUBLIN PICKET PROTESTS CONTINUING INTERNMENT IN IRELAND WHILE EXPRESSING INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN PRISONERS.
PALESTINIAN Y0UNG WOMAN PRESENTS PICKETERS WITH BUQUET OF FLOWERS.
HUNGER STRIKER MARTYRS OF 1981 REMEMBERED.
On a cold and wet late Saturday afternoon (2/03/2019) in Dublin city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connel Street, hurrying shoppers and tourists were treated to the sight of protesters outside the General Post Office. One group was flying small flags of a green, white and orange tricolour but not the Irish one – the colour bands were horizontal.
The other group flew a larger tricolour, the Irish national flag, the colours horizontal – and also a Palestinian flag. One of their banners was an enlargement of the cartoon by Brazilian graphic artist Carlos Latuff , showing an Irish hand reaching through prison bars to clasp that of a Palestinian, also emerging through bars.
The first group was of Indians in a protest related to the current tensions between the states of Pakistan and India, while the other had been organised by the Dublin Anti-Internment Committee and was supported by other Republicans and unaligned socialists. The presence of both outside the GPO was a coincidence and they were separated by a little distance.
INTERNMENT WITHOUT TRIAL CONTINUES IN IRELAND
One of the monthly pickets of the DAI Committee to raise awareness of the ongoing internment in Ireland, the picketers combined their action with expressing solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners of which many are held without charge, in “administrative detention”.
In Ireland, there are other kinds of “administrative detention” but they are not called that; instead they go under the names of “revoking of licence” and “refusal of bail”.
The first category relates only to the occupied Six Counties, where those political prisoners were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement; however their licence may be revoked at any time in which case the unfortunate person will be brought straight to jail without trial and held there indefinitely. This has been the fate of a number of former prisoners who remain Republican activists. One of those, Tony Taylor, was released without charge at the end of November last year, having spent nearly a thousand days in custody.
The second category and by far the most common, both in the British colony and the Irish state, is that of refusing bail to Irish Republicans while they await trial on as yet unproven charges. In these circumstances the accused, if judged “not guilty” at their trial, may have spent more than two years in prison by that time. A recent example of refusal of bail was that of Republican activist Alan Lundy arrested for alleged armed burglary on 18th February, despite an alibi apparently confirmed by CCTV footage placing him 40 miles away at the time and highly contradictory evidence from the alleged victims.
The intention of these totally undemocratic measures is an attack on the basic civil rights of Republicans to peacefully organise and to assemble in protest. When bail is granted, the intention is made clear since regularly the conditions attached are that the accused wear an electronic tag, may not participate in political meetings or demonstrations and must observe a curfew. Furthermore, the accused are brought before the no-jury Special Courts of both administrations, where special rules of “evidence” apply.
The Dublin Anti-Internment Committee maintains that these measures amount to internment without trial, a continuation of the policy in which courts are used, as Brigadier Kitson of the British Army proudly declared, as “a propaganda cover for the removal of unwanted members of the public”.
The Dublin Committee has also repeatedly pointed out that these measures are a danger to the civil rights of any and all movements of opposition to the State or its policies and should therefore be opposed by all democratic people, whatever their particular political alignment might be.
FLOWERS PRESENTED FOR SOLIDARITY
The picketers distributed leaflets to passers-by, some of which took photographs. Two young women who had taken photographs returned a second time, one of them presenting a bouquet of flowers to the surprised protesters. She said that she was doing so in gratitude for she was of Palestinian backround.
There are approaching 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, of which around 170 are held without trial, in “administrative detention”.
REMEMBERING THE HUNGER STRIKES
At a certain point during the event, the picketers took up black flags and displayed them until the end of the event in remembrance of the ten dead hunger-strikers of 1981 (seven Provisional IRA and three INLA). March 1st was the anniversary of the first day of the hunger strikes of that year fighting British attempts to paint them as criminals, when Bobby Sands embarked on his 66 days of hunger, the first of ten Republican political prisoners to give their lives. Bobby Sands, revolutionary and poet, died on May 5th and over 100,000 people lined the route of his funeral in Belfast, protests took place throughout much of the world and official marks of respect were given, including a statement of solidarity by Palestinian prisoners of the Israeli State. During his hunger strike Bobby Sands had been elected an MP to the British Parliament and two more, Kieran Doherty and Paddy Agnew, were elected members of the Dáil (Irish Parliament) in Cavan-Monaghan, while Joe McDonnell was narrowly defeated in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency.
These events had long term effects even in electoral politics. The British changed electoral law to prevent prisoners ever being elected again (Representation of the People Act 1981), Sinn Féin became a predominantly constitutional party and every Irish Government since 1981 has been a coalition of some kind.
Short video clip here:https://www.facebook.com/581232915354743/videos/319325982052745/