September Jobstown not Guilty solidarity protest at Childrens court


On Tuesday the 27th of September there was a solidarity picket held outside the Children's Court in Dublin.  The picket stood outside from 10 am till 5pm today the day of the verdict of the Jobstown kids trial.  People from Tyrone, Arklow, Wicklow and Cavan travelled to show solidarity outside the Children's court and there were solidarity pickets in other counties.

Protesters crowded around on the street, in a natural symbolic reaction of solidarity against the trial of a 17 year old, who has long worked in communities volunteering. Who the state has created spurious charges against him, of “false imprisonment”. When the minister Joan Burton was in Tallaght - a community blocked her in for a short time out of her privileged life, so miniscule in comparison to the communities who suffer a life sentence of poverty as she and her cronies eased tax for vultures and slashed welfare.

The vibes of the protest became more apparent as the time dragged on throughout the day to await the verdict which became emotional and tense, the crowd started to sing, “You’ll never walk alone”, and swaying in motion with each other. The atmosphere brought a lump to my throat. Buses and cars beeped throughout the day, even when water tax campaigners had briefly blocked the road and slowly dispersed off the road to allow traffic. Every passer by were nodding in support, and talking about the trial. It seemed all knew it was utterly wrong. The atmosphere was chilling.

The 17 year old who can’t be named came out of the courthouse to the crowd chanting, and then the announcement that the verdict has been adjourned, put back till the 21st of October. The crowd continued singing, “You’ll never walk alone”. Seeing the 17 year old’s face, pale and fragile looking was haunting. At a time where a friend of his has died to suicide within this week, where our communities lack support and funding he was told he has to wait to be told from a courtroom, with a judge on a high stand and barristers, cops and forty witnesses, and ministers who went out of their way to criminalize him he has to come back again to see how they decide his fate.

Where the 17 year old who can’t be named has to mentally prepare what the outcome of his life will be in the hands of the state, what his freedom will be? Where he has to prepare for the worst, and how it affects him, his mother, family and others. Where he is probably envisioning how he spends his time incarcerated at the age of 17, and how they treat him, what life is like behind prison walls. And awaiting the days, the hours till the morning of the verdict in a room full of cops and men in suits and a judge on a high platform that will decide his fate by riddle that only the “highly educated” in law are meant to understand.

The state is acting out and repressing any form of dissent, any refusal to be quiet. As Leinster house resumed after summer holidays and reopened today, they had put up big mental barriers across Molesworth street as the media report, “From late last night gardaí constructed a rigid steel barrier to thwart any potential trouble.”, “Fearing a repeat of previous disruption officers were taking no chances.”. Mentioning also that their garda source were “conscious” of the verdict today at the children's court and that anti austerity and anti water charges activists would be gathered there.

Where the state wants to further segregate and smash any rise of dissent and push us back. It seems more evident amongst our communities who have risen up in direct action, on our water shores, on our comrades shores, in banks, evictions and on our streets that this could be setting a massive precedent of how our lives could face being behind jail bars. Criminalized.

Now more than ever this quote seems pretty accurate as many face serious charges continuing next week and in the months ahead, with Jobstown on “false imprisonment” charges and communities across the island facing section 12 of the water services act.

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

The 17 year old who can not be named has asked for the continuation of support as his verdict is on the 21st of October, he says it helps ease his stress.

Words, guest writer: Saoirse Bennett