FEE reveal details of brutal Gardai assault on student protesters

Date:

Students from Free Education for Everyone (FEE), who organised todays occupation of the Department of Finance, have released the following statement detailing why they organised the occupation, who took part and the giving some details of the brutal Gardai attack on the occupiers.  A WSM member who was present and whose arm was injured in the Gardai assault revealed that as soon as the Gardai entered the occupation they started punching people in the face despite the face that the students were telling them it was a peaceful protest and they were not resisting them.

 

Free Education for Everyone: A statement regarding events today at the Dept. of Finance

Students from Free Education for Everyone (NUI Maynooth, NUI Galway) and the Students in Solidarity Network (University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin) issued a call for a clearly visible left-wing presence on today’s demonstration against the re-introduction of third level fees, in the form of a registration fee increase or otherwise. This call was answered by student activists from a range of political organisations, including the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party, Workers Solidarity Movement, éirigí, the 32 CSM and others. For the most part however, the call was answered by independent students.

Up to 1,000 students joined our breakaway at Kildare Street, staging a short sit down protest outside the home of the corrupt and unaccountable political establishment of this state. Recognising the futility of marching from A to B and listening to the same speeches from aspiring politicians, many of these students joined us in marching to the Department of Finance where a sit in demonstration was held. It is the Department of Finance which is attacking ordinary working people with such vigour in recent times, and this occupation was symbolic of the anger of students and the Irish public.

We are not the “anti- social, hooligan element of the student movement,” rather today we showed that we are perfectly in touch with the anger felt by the student body. The sight of thousands of students outside, cheering on the direct action showed the positive effect such direct action can have on the Irish student movement. Such actions, we believe, are a necessary step forward. This government wish to attack education, public services and working people and this must be resisted.

There was no act of violence carried out by those protesting at the Department, and any violence outside was instigated by the inept response of the Gardai. Students sitting on the road in protest were baton charged repeatedly by Gardaí, with many suffering injuries. One female student was knocked unconscious during the assault on the crowd, and other students clearly displayed head injuries. “The Gardaí rushed the crowd on numerous occasions, including spectators on the street. The crowd, which at this point had swelled up to 2,000 students with many from the main demonstration joining us, vented their anger at the response of the Gardaí who had begun encircling them” said Lorcan Myles, a Free Education for Everyone activist who witnessed the events. We make no apologies for the direct action taken.

Ultimately, events like today’s will happen in a society where people are under constant attack from the political establishment. The arrests and attacks carried out on students today will not deter the movement.

Source: FEE website

WSM report from the scene

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