Picket outside the Embassy of Ireland, 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HR
Wednesday 15th september 11am – 2pm.
At the end of April, during the lead up to the welcoming celebrations for the accession of ten new member states to the EU, 3 protesters were arrested on the road outside an occupied building in property-market ravaged Dublin. The House that had been occupied had been singled out by a group of activists from Dublin because it had been unoccupied and been left to rot over a period of years. This initiative was part of a long running political response to the housing crisis, one all too familiar to residents of London, and many other major European cities where property is a significant investment industry. To protect this artificially inflated market the homeless are mercilessly harassed, so they remain furtive and isolated, lest the sight of all those empty properties wake the collective conscience of those in authority from it’s economically induced coma. However this was only one of many protests at this time and people from all over Europe were gathering to make their objection to the terms of inclusion of the ten new member states with regard to workers rights and the potential effects of an unjust two tier system of rights and entitlements for all in employment, in all member states. The time it appears was ripe for some politically motivated arrests.
The 3 people arrested were all in this case from England. Two men one aged 18 the other 38, and a twenty year old woman, who were experiencing the atmosphere of propaganda-induced hysteria ( paricularly the Daily Mirror ) that existed prior to the EU delegate’s big beano in Phoenix Park. Needless to say no significant arrests for violence were made during the subsequent demonstrations which were played out with all the inevitability of street theatre.
The three arrested spent eight days in prison, while the outrageous bail terms were disputed. They had been given only a few minutes with a court appointed ex-policeman solicitor prior to initially appearing in court, due to the timing of their arrests. This ensured that they were denied earlier access to legal advice despite repeated requests. Twelve hours is customary for those arrested at night so they can rest before the police need question them, plus twelve hours that they can be held before the police are required to question them. Questioning was an insignificant formality in this case. They were then charged with section 13 of the trespass act, which customarily attracts merely a caution. After meeting an extortionate bail agreement they were released on the proviso the older man and the twenty year old woman remain in Dublin awaiting trial. The man will appear in court on the 20th September, the woman will not go on trial until November.
During the long months they have faced the numerous problems that being stranded in a foreign city engenders. Problems of housing, employment, and medical care, that have only highlighted the issues they were originally prepared to protest against. Others in Dublin have also understandably been cautious in helping them as, in the case of the woman when first arrested the police subsequently raided the home of the person she had been staying with in Ireland, and seized her rucksack and many of his books and personal correspondence, all of which were later returned.
Why Should I Care?
Because the political powers in all the countries of the EU are influenced more by the demands of the Multinationals than their electorate. That it is expedient for them to demonstrate to the Multinationals their determination to stifle political debate, both in the media and on the streets, so as to make themselves attractive to inward investment by these exploitative corporations. That through the movement of cheap labour and inexpensive and well educated professionals from poorer counties while undermining their rights, the corporations will enjoy a level playing field throughout, while the political elites bask in their favour.