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An organisation by the name of Anti-Imperialist Action yesterday held an anti-monarchist march and rally in Dublin, including a mock execution of royalty, where their speaker was arrested by Gardaí.
The protesters met first at the James Connolly monument in Beresford Place and after some words marched up Abbey Street to Dublin’s main street and to the General Post Office building to hold their anti-monarchy rally.
At the GPO the gathering of socialist republicans, socialists and anarchists had grown. As the mock-up guillotine carried out mock execution of the dummy representing royalty, a large force of Gardaí arrested the speaker. Participants then went to Store Street Garda station to demand his release.
At Store Street the protesters were met by a line of Gardaí1 drawn up in front of the entrance to the police station. In speeches and slogans, the protestors denounced the police for the arrest of the speaker at the GPO, also denouncing the monarchy and the State.
Some speakers criticised also the national broadcaster RTÉ which was devoting four hours to the coronation.
The most frequent chants were: When Republicans are under attack – stand up, fight back!2 One, Two, Three, Four – Occupation no more; Five, Six, Seven Eight – Smash the Free State!3 Brit King – Guillotine! No democracy – under a monarchy! No democracy – in the Free State4!
One of the protesters, accompanying himself on guitar, sang the Republican ballad popularly known as “Come Out Yez Black ‘n Tans”, the attendance joining in on the chorus. They displayed a banner with a slogan from Liberty Hall5 in WW1: We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.
Using a loudhailer, another protester read out James Connolly’s6 1911 denunciation of the monarchy. Yet another speaker quoted Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’ recent words saying the Gardaí were the “biggest gang”, the protester calling them “an MI5-directed gang”.
Eventually news of the release of the arrested man reached the protestors and they marched up Talbot Street with Starry Plough7 flags and a Basque Ikurrina flying, back to the GPO, outside of which they held an impromptu rally.
Along with portraits of Irish hunger-strike martyrs of 1981 there was a portrait of Palestinian martyr Khader Adnan carried also in recognition of the international role of British imperialism and its Head of State.
Many looked on in interest while some applauded them, both in Talbot Street, where a taxi driver enquired the reason for the protest and wished them well and also outside the GPO. Gardaí arrived and stood across from the building to watch the protesters but in smaller numbers than before.
Another speaker said the protesters were “health workers, working to rid Ireland of a dangerous disease affecting politicians, media and State forces, a disease that makes them go to their knees in front of royalty and a foreign state, extending their tongues to lick a certain part of the anatomy.”
The speaker said they were working “to rid Ireland of this dangerous disease, to enable the people to stand up straight once more, to claim their Republic, celebrate their history and speak out against foreign domination and monarchy”.
He drew attention also to arrest of a Republican speaker outside the iconic GPO, headquarters of the 1916 Rising8 and which still bears the scars of British bullets9.
Reference was also made a number of times by protesters to the arrests of English Republicans in London who were prevented by from holding a protest against the monarchy.
The victim of the police attack returned from police custody and briefly spoke thanking those who had demanded his release; people who had stopped to listen applauded and the group dispersed without further arrest.
1Police force of the Irish State.
2This seems adapted from a slogan often chanted by Irish socialist groups.
3This too seems an adaptation but from the Palestine solidarity movement.
4The new state of 26 Counties (missing six, which are in the British colony) and which fought a Civil War against the Republicans was called “the Free State” and though the name was changed (and to a ‘republic’) Irish Republicans and many nationalists in the British colony call it the “Free State” in irony and in negation of its legitimacy.
5Liberty Hall is a very tall building housing SIPTU but the trade union’s ancestor, the ITGWU had purchased the previous building on the same site which was destroyed by the British during the 1916 Rising. The slogan “We serve neither …” etc had been displayed across the front earlier during WWI.
6Revolutionary socialist leader, trade union organiser, writer and historian who brought the Irish Citizen Army to participate in the Rising, during which he was made Dublin Commandant, afterwards being shot by British firing squad.
7Originally flag of the Irish Citizen Army, the first workers’ Army in the world, formed to defend the workers in 1913 Lockout against police attacks and which also took part in the 1916 Rising.
8The rising 24-29 April 1916 was the first against world war and contained many other ‘firsts’ – six different organisations played a prominent part in it, including women. The Rising is regarded as leading to the War of Independence 1919-1922.
9One of many buildings in Dublin that bear the scars of conflict, this one is an imposing building in the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street. With the building in flames from British artillery on Easter Friday, the garrison, including five of the Seven Signatories of the Proclamation of Independence (which was read out at the start of the Rising) relocated to nearby Moore Street, where the decision was taken to surrender.
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