Repression

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Jobstown 4 Police Squadron: This is What the State is for

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The Garda raids against the Jobstown 4 at dawn are an illustration of how the state works to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. Nothing illustrates the repressive role the state plays better than having a squad of strange men turn up at your door at dawn to take you away against your will. It’s an exercise in power that it meant to scare, to frighten others into staying quiet.

Whenever people refuse to be bought off or diverted into ineffective action or electoralism the state deploys the stick. For months Gardaí have been attacking people in communities across the country for continuing to resist water meter installations. And over the last decade we saw state repression being directed again and again against the community around Rossport because they refused to give in to Shell. There is huge and growing outrage directed at the Garda, it's at moments like this that the old anarchist slogan 'Smash the State' comes into focus.
 

Right to Plunder the Economy, Not Right to Protest

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This morning squads of Garda around Dublin mounted dawn raids on the houses of water charges protesters over a sit in 3 months ago in Jobstown. At the same time across the city bankers and other speculators named in the HSBC Geneva Private Bank leaks slept soundly in their beds knowing no one was going to be knocking down their door. If you want to understand the nature of power the contrast provides an excellent example.

The raids this morning were all about what the politicians' spin doctors like to call optics. Politicians, media and the Gardaí are on a drive to criminalise and marginalise those resisting the imposition of water charges. Sit ins and blockades have been part of political protest in Ireland for decades, the IFA routinely has far more militant protests.

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State Repression of Anti-Water Charges Movement as Jobstown 4 Arrested

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Photo: State repression in action - Anti water charge protests Paul Murphy being arrested by 6 Garda at 7am this morning

Shocking news this morning as we hear that Garda have arrested four anti-water tax protesters this morning in connection with the sit down protest three months ago that kept Joan Burton in her car for a couple of hours. The Jobstown 4 are Paul Murphy, Scott Masterson, Mick Murphy and Kieran Mahon.

The arrests were made just before 7am this morning when teams of Garda arrived at the homes of those targeted. Eirigi have described the arrest of Scott as follows
"‘At around 7am this morning up to a dozen Gardaí in five vehicles arrived at Scott Masterson’s home. Scott was the only adult in the house getting his two young daughters ready for primary school and pre-school. When Scott’s partner returned to the house, having earlier gone to work, there were eight Gardaí in the house along with Scott and the two children. Scott was then arrested and made to stand in handcuffs on a public road for a number of minutes before being transported to Tallaght Garda barracks.’
 

Brutality in Maghaberry Prison - the Background

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Earlier today over 50 people protested outside Amnesty International HQ, in Dublin, against the brutal treatment of republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison in Antrim. This has flared up again with, for instance, republican prisoner Martin Kelly having his arm broken and face stomped on by the riot squad only 5 days ago. Here is the background to the struggle of these political prisoners for basic human rights.

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When the H-blocks closed as a part of the peace process in 2000, republican prisoners were put into Maghaberry prison because it is the only high security prison in the North of Ireland. But anti-Good Friday Agreement republicans were getting imprisoned in Maghaberry from the late 90's. The prison administration straight away treated all political prisoners as “criminal”. The rights that were gained from the prison struggle in the late 70's early 80's were taken away.

End The Abuses in Maghaberry – Solidarity with Political Prisoners

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The violence that erupted within the confines of Maghaberry Prison this week was the accumulation of ongoing tensions directed at political prisoners by Prison Authorities who are continuing to implement a punishing regime within the confines of Roe House, which houses around fifty Republican Political Prisoners. That's why we are saying End The Abuses in Maghaberry – Solidarity with Political Prisoners!

Since the end of January the Republican wing was put on lock down, 23 hour lock up, controlled movement and regular brutal forced strip searching despite an agreement brokered in the summer of 2010 to address these issues.

At the height of the violence, white-line pickets and protests occurred in both Belfast and Derry, as well as outside Maghaberry Gaol itself in an effort to highlight the abuse of human rights within Roe House. Reports coming directly from Maghaberry have been reminiscent of the horrors inflicted on Political prisoners in the H Blocks and Crumlin Road Gaol during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prisoner representatives and their families have stated that several prisoners within Maghaberry’s Roe House have been attacked and beaten with one prisoner requiring hospital treatment after sustaining a broken arm. Legal challenges have also taken place as solicitors for those prisoners assaulted have been denied access to their clients who were initially refused immediate medical treatment as a result.

Irish Chamber of Commerce Puts Profit Before Right to Protest

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The spokesperson for the Irish Chamber of Commerce has said 'We'd never deny people the right to protest - but the protest has to be done and managed in a way that causes minimal disruption to businesses', citing revenue lost by the massive anti-water charges demonstration on December 10th.

We cannot tolerate such anti-democratic statements. The crux of this position is that we can have some semblance of democratic rights and freedoms, but we have to remember that money comes first. The essential condition is that businesses have the maximum ability to make profits, even if it means curtailing protest.

Operation Pandora: Demonstrations in Solidarity with Spanish Anarchists

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After an international call for protests on January the 16th, anarchists in Belfast, Cork, and Dublin demonstrated in solidarity with the anarchists arrested in the Operation Pandora raids in the Spanish state, along with Basque political prisoners (16 lawyers of Basque activists recently being arrested, and tens of thousands of euro in donations stolen by police).

11 anarchists were arrested back in December in Operation Pandora without any evidence being presented, but the Judge Presiding Judge Bermúdez said “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future.”

In a letter of protest which was handed to the Spanish ambassador in Dublin, D. Freeman for the Workers Solidarity Movement said:
Of course the current prime minister of Spain, Mario Rajoy, was front and centre in Paris for the staged photo-op around the Charlie Hebo march for freedom of expression, whilst back in Spain people are being arrested for being who they are.

Not much evidence there of freedom of expression. In fact what we are seeing now in Spain is the opposite; we are seeing people targeted because of the ideas that they hold are deemed unacceptable to the Spanish State.

Irish Ministers Pose for Charlie Hebdo Free Speech, While Blasphemy Law Remains

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'Je suis Charlie. Vive la Liberté (mais le blasphème est interdit!)'

More members of the hypocrite's identity parade. If these politicians were serious about protecting free speech, beyond posturing in photo-ops, they would be fast-tracking a referendum on abrogating the blasphemy law and not fast-tracking redundant 'anti-terror' legislation (which has been used all over the world to stifle dissent).

The greatest irony is that while they make a spectacle of defending the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo against Islamist violence, repressive Islamist governments use the Irish blasphemy law as justification for their persecution of blasphemers, and advocate the exact wording of 'our' law to the UN as international best practice to spread blasphemy laws to other countries.

In fact, this is the most important reason that the Irish blasphemy law must be abolished immediately. It will likely not be applied in Ireland, though it is certainly unjust and ridiculous. Although Dr. Ali Salem, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, has warned that he will invoke it against blaspheming Charlie Hebdo cartoons if they are re-printed here.
 

Sweeping 'Anti-Terrorism' Legislation Due Soon Before Dail

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REMAIN INDOORS, TERRORISTS ARE COMING FOR YOUR FREEDOM

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said Ireland is on alert for terrorist attacks and that sweeping zero-tolerance anti-terrorism legislation will be soon before the Dáil.

Enough hysteria. In Ireland we've prided ourselves for not indulging such wacky 'anti-terrorism' mania to the extent the US and UK have post-11/9. 'Terrorism' is an ill-defined nonsense term and this is as true as ever.
 

Spanish PM Postures about 'Freedom of Expression' Despite Repression at Home

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The question isn't which of these countries' governments isn't truly committed to freedom of expression, as the Picket Line of Justice would suggest, but which is. Today Spanish police arrested at least 16 lawyers of Basque political prisoners. Three were arrested on their way to the Spanish Special Court for the first day of a mass trial against 35 pro-independence activists. This is only two days after a 80,000 person protest for the rights of Basque political prisoners.

Also, on December 16th 2014 we saw 11 anarchists in Barcelona area detained in what has been known as "Operation Pandora". All 11 detainees (4 of them were released on charges on December, 18th) are anarchist activists. Solicitors for the accused have stated that they have been arrested for being organised; evidence against the accused is non-existent and desperate. Presiding Judge Bermúdez said “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future”, presumably having to stop himself before saying 'Anarchy is on trial'.
 

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