Coverage of the massive M21 Water Charges demonstration


March 21st saw tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of Dublin once more for 3 marches from different points of the city that converged in O'Connell st. This video attempts to give a sense of the huge size of the marches by mixing footage taken from among the marches on the streets with that taken from overhead during the huge rally at the end.

Our coverage started early in the morning on our new Solidarity Times page with "19 buses are leaving Donegal as we write for the long trip to Dublin and the massive M21 protest marches against the Water Charge"


Later that morning we reported "We've been following the updates of people travelling to the M21 water charges protests from all over the country this morning. The first posts came from Donegal, a long way from Dublin so the 19 buses needed an early start. And as the morning progressed they are pouring in from everywhere else, a brief selection below.

Peter says "I'm just leaving Limerick junction train station at the moment on a very packed train full to the brim with people who are protest bound. I feel that today is going to be historic."

Sheila says "On the bus up from Kerry - is Dublin ready for a street party!!!! The lions are gonna ROAR today"

Corrina says "Leaving the house now from Ardara Co Donegal I've an hrs drive first b4 I get on the bus in Letterkenny and the 5 hr journey to Dublin c ye all at 1"

Patrick says " I'm just got on the dublin train after changing at limerick junction and there's no seats left,conveniently its stopping in every town on the way up,never seen it before?? They're ain't going to be room!!"

Mary "Morning Dublin Kildare here we are heading for our bus in a short while looking forward to see yr all"

Jessie "Heading with a bus from Longford town"

Eibhlin "Leaving Letterkenny at 8. See you all there"

Pauline "leaving Wicklow 10.30...what a day for it"

Leo "Just left Ennis 10mins ago"

Meanwhile in Dublin we were at the anti-racist rally with a video of "Brendan Oogle of Right2Water speaking on behalf of R2W at the Anti Racism day protest at the Central bank ahead of today's huge water charges demonstration The anti racism day day marks the anniversary of the day in South Africa when the police shot down protesters. This demonstration will March on the GNIB before marching to join up with our fellow protesters in the anti water charges march"

We were on the streets during the march itself trying to get a sense of how many really marched, starting with the Cabra & Stoneybatter feeder march before posting video from the front of the Connolly station march as it passed the IFSC and reporting that "Both sides of river Liffey are packed with protesters" and "There are a lot of greek flags on this protest. The struggle of the Greek people against austerity is the same struggle that is being fought today in Ireland."

Covering the speeches at the stage we one saying "We have the power, we will stand strong, and we will not pay""

Bernie Hughes, imprisoned for breaking a water charges injunction is now on the stage. Remembering the women she met in prison she says “most of the people who were in prison with me should not be there, they should be in treatment centers to help them”. She says “I will stand for what I believe in, I will stand with my people, the people of my communities, we have got to stop it now”.

Meanwhile another of our photographers posted a video giving a good idea of the size of the M21 water charges protest filling O'Connell st.  They captured this video after being kicked out of Clerys by a floor manager & security who told him management has said protesters were not allowed take photographs from the windows. Who owns Clerys we asked?

Obviously they are only following orders from those higher up. Business is hostile to these protests because business wants us to continue to pay for their losses. Our photographer managed to give them a slip, and got the footage anyway.

The media & politicians have consistently downplayed numbers, our photos from various points in the march and then from above the giant rally at the end showing tens of thousands on the streets.

The government strategy of downplaying numbers has failed, and the media hasn’t really helped them much as we’ve learned to laugh at the figures they give. What is clear is that an overwhelmingly majority are going to refuse to pay the water charge - the enormous number who have demonstrated shows the scale and confidence of the opposition to the charge.

April 1st when the bills are issued will be a key date as will the next national demonstration called for April 18th, almost 3 weeks later when the scale of mass non-payment will have become clear.

We will see you on the street again then.

View our Facebook album of images from the march

For live reporting from the March 21st water charge demonstations was done via our new Solidarity Times - Free the Media, Be the Media page on Facebook.  

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WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )