09 March 2012

#OccupyDameStreet - This is the end?

No Kitchen. No Tents. No Shacks. Nothing remains of #OccupyDameStreet but a few very determined people.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, 8:30am, Thursday 8th March
Well, that was unexpected.

Sometime before 8am this morning I got a call from a somewhat distraught friend to say that #OccupyDameStreet had been evicted, the camp destroyed and the residents very badly shaken. Fifteen minutes later I was at the Camp, though no trace of it remained save for the people standing around at the gates of the Central Bank looking shellshocked. The day that followed was in many ways no less dramatic. I'm very tired now, both mentally and physically, and will need some time to digest exactly what has happened, and what this all means. In the meantime, here is the text of a statement read out at this evening's General Assembly.

The prose is a bit purple, and the delivery a bit weak, but you get the gist...
At 3am this morning, Thursday 8th March, exactly five months to the day since #OccupyDameStreet was established, the area around the Central Bank Plaza was cordoned off by upwards of 100 Gardai while the #OccupyDameStreet Camp was destroyed and its residents evicted. Up to fifteen camp residents were forcibly removed from their huts and prevented from retrieving their personal belongings, as the wooden kitchen and twelve sleeping huts were broken up with construction equipment and carried away in lorries.

As dawn broke over Dame Street this morning, and despite the efforts of the Gardai and the Central Bank to sweep away any trace of the struggles this street has seen these last five months, we were still here.

Born on October 8th, 2011, #OccupyDameStreet remained one of the longest running protests active continuously in the same location in the global Occupy Movement. Bound together by themes of social justice and equality, #OccupyDameStreet has made four key demands:

1) That the IMF and ECB stay out of the affairs of Ireland
2) That the burden of private bank debt be lifted from the public's shoulders
3) That Ireland’s natural gas and oil reserves be returned to sovereign control
4) That a system of real, participatory Democracy be introduced in Ireland

Despite the actions of the Central Bank and An Garda Síochána, we remain no less committed to these goals, if anything our resolve is even stronger.

#OccupyDameStreet is not just a camp, not just a series of tents and wooden pallets, not just the street on which we gathered to discuss, debate and learn, not just the vision of an alternative Ireland based on fairness, equality and justice that we presented.

#OccupyDameStreet is the people, the people who gave up so much of themselves for those who could not, the people who camped and the people who came, the people who fed and clothed us, the people who simply stopped by with a kind word of encouragement or those who supported us from afar.

#OccupyDameStreet is the people. It is all of us, and we are the 99%

The Camp may be gone, but the Movement continues.

We are #OccupyDameStreet.

And we are still here.
A few hours after the camp was destroyed, an activist calls for a General Assembly
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
Gardai resist attempts to set up a single tent
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
A one-person tent, possibly the greatest threat to law and order in the 21st Century.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
The 6pm General Assembly begins
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
The General Assembly debates the next course of action
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
A large group decided to march on Pearse St Garda station demanding the return of personal belongings seized in the eviction. The Gardai blocked their path.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
The crowd outside Pearse St Garda station got quite forceful (this bit I did not like at all).
The Gardai linked arms to prevent a crowd surge.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
Back on Dame Street, the #Occupation was maintained by less than a dozen people, including a five week-old baby.
(don't worry, parents were standing beside me, he was wrapped up nice and warm and was in his bed a few minutes later)
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
A much smaller group returned from Pearse Street and the General Assembly continued.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March
We are all the 99%, you, me, them, everybody (except Murdoch).
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Thursday 8th March

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At 10:25 am, Blogger Snag Breac said...

Good to see what's been happening...keep on letting us know.

At 7:43 pm, Anonymous Mark Stanley said...

That was very quietly done - no mention on the news over here. Have been enjoying your posts :-)


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