17
Nov
14

Some thoughts on violence and the protest in Tallaght

A couple of people have asked what I made of the violence at the protest against Joan Burton’s visit to Tallaght on Saturday (links to videos at the bottom of this post).

That is quite simple – I condemn the violence unreservedly.

  • The violence of the Gardai manhandling the protesters blocking Burton’s car.
  • The violence of the riot police deployed against working people protesting on the streets.
  • The violence of the Garda pepper spraying peaceful protesters.

The reality is that it was the Gardai who escalated a peaceful protest into a situation something more than that.

Of course the word violence has been used by the capitalist media and liberal commentators to refer to something else entirely.

Firstly there was the supposed threat to Joan Burton from a handful of protestors banging on her car with a water balloon and a few eggs being thrown. Burton has claimed that the protesters were trying to overturn her car and presumably injure her which anyone viewing the video can see is ridiculous.

Secondly there was the brick thrown at a Garda car later in the evening. The motivation of that individual is not known – perhaps they had a friend or family member who had been among those who were pepper sprayed or pushed around by the riot police; perhaps they had a previous personal grudge against the Gardai for some reason; perhaps they were a state provocateur.

Unless the last of those options is proven to be true then the important thing to recognise is that despite any criticism any of us may have with the act of throwing the brick he is on OUR side. I have seen some calls to hand this guy, and by implication anyone else doing anything “violent”, over to the Gardai by people within the anti-water charges movement. There should be no such talk as that amounts to doing the work of the capitalist state for them.

My main concern with the act itself is that throwing the brick might have provoked the Gardai into increasing the level of their violence against the working people out on the streets when they weren’t organised enough to defend themselves properly.

I believe that protestors have the right to defend themselves when attacked by the police but that should ideally be done in an organised controlled manner under the leadership of democratically selected stewards rather than spontaneous actions of individuals.

The blocking of Burton’s car: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2MvjcoiIc0

The later protest on the streets of Tallaght – video is at bottom of page http://www.sundayworld.com/top-stories/news/protesters-blockade-tanaistes-car

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1 Response to “Some thoughts on violence and the protest in Tallaght”



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