16 October 2011

#OccupyDameStreet - Welcome Home!

Today, October 15th, was a momentous day on Occupied Dame Street, and I apologise in advance for the photos that really do no justice to the subject. I was running round like a mad thing, shepherding and marshaling and all the great shots came out blurry and generally looking like poo. When I get a chance I'll link to someone else's photos, someone who knows how to actually use a camera.

Anyway, today, October 15th, was a momentous day on Occupied Dame Street...

One week ago today a small group of people arrived down at 2pm to the gates of the Central Bank. Brought together by word of mouth and social media, all instigated by an even smaller group of women and men from Ireland, Spain and beyond and inspired by the actions of ¡Democracia real YA! in Spain and #OccupyWallStreet, as we gathered in the cold grey gloom and the concrete shadow of our national economic misfortune, none of us could have ever imagined that one week later we would still be there, stronger, taller and bolder, more secure than ever in our belief that another world is possible.

We have stood together through morning rain and evening wind and survived everything that the city and its cavalcade of urban exotica hurtled towards us. We have rallied, we have shouted, we have laughed, we have cheered and today, this day of global solidarity with sister #Occupy Movements in over a thousand cities and more across the world, this one-week anniversary of something that has so engulfed our lives that it is difficult to remember a time without it, today we stood and wept.

At 2:30 this afternoon a crowd gathered at the Garden of Remembrance and set off down to march towards the camp on Dame Street. I stayed behind in the Camp, one of a number of volunteers who opted to remain so that everyone else could march. the march itself was organised long before the Camp was born, but by the same people who birthed it. Seven days and Seven nights had nurtured and schooled their unexpected creation until it had a life and momentum that far eclipsed whatever actions they had hoped to see, and in truth the march was all-but-forgotten by many in the Camp, myself included. Late on Thursday afternoon the General Assembly finally remembered the march, agreeing to go in solidarity with its organisers, and with the millions who would be marching around the world on this day, but time was short and the ability to generate publicity limited. Beyond those from the camp who went to join it I expected no more than a hundred or so to take part, and even the most optimistic in the Camp focused on the thought that the Camp was now the main focus, and it was going well.

And so we waited, standing in the Camp for our compañeras y compañeros to return, hoping that the support would be respectable enough to prevent a cloud of disappointment from descending on Dame Street but secretly fearing the worst, and then, an hour after the march had set off, we heard the roar as it turned the corner and caught its first sight of the walls of the Central Bank, and then we saw the people, and then we wept.

The March arrives on Dame Street
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October

What seemed like a thousand marchers from every walk of life and every corner of the country descended onto Dame Street, engulfing the Camp, and path, and road with a single voice a thousand strong declaring "We Are The 99%". They stood and they cheered, we stood and we stared, stunned into momentary silence by the support we were witnessing, before we too, choking back the tears, joined in the global declaration that today rang out around the world.

The March occupies Dame Street
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October
We - Are - The 99%!

..and occupies the Camp...
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October

We - Are - The 99%!

...and Upper Fownes Street...
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October

We - Are - The 99%!

...all sides of the Camp occupied at the same time
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October

We - Are - The 99%!

The crowd bent and warped and wrapped itself around the Camp and under the eaves of the Central Bank, one people, one voice, the 99% had arrived. There in the midst of it all a woman stood and waited to read out the October 11th Statement.

"Welcome to #OccupyDameStreet", she said to the crowd a thousand strong.

"Welcome Home!"

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At 4:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are weeping too as we read this extraordinary report, rise up Ireland, take back our country! We are cheering you on and sending courage and prayers from Irish ex-pats at Occupy Philadelphia.


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